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September 19, 1990


By CBR Staff Writer

UHC Inc, a tiny Houston, Texas start-up, is claiming to be first with a fully commercialised shrink-wrapped version of Unix System V.4 for 80386 and 80486 machines. The company began delivering its system in the last two weeks and AT&T’s Unix System Laboratories, from which it bought its System V.4 licence, agrees that that timing would give it the distinction it claims. Its software includes X Window, support for both Open Look and OSF/Motif, networking extensions and developers kit. List price, including documentation, is $3,000 and qualified developers can claim an introductory discount bringing their cost down to $2,000. UHC plans to sell the software direct, joining the Unix distribution line-up that includes or will include Intel, Santa Cruz Operation, Microport and possibly Everex Systems Inc’s Esix unit. Unix System Labs, which supply the source code, will not be in the shrink-wrapped business. The Houston start-up reckons that its first serious competition will come from Microport Inc, which it expects to release its product for 80386 and 80486 machines in November. Intel and Santa Cruz are seen as less of an immediate threat, according to UHC communications manager Brad Elliott, because products may not appear until sometime next year. Elliott maintains both these firms want to clear out all the Unix System V.3.2 product on their shelves and recoup their investment before they bring on System V.4. Elliott says UHC has spent the last four months cleaning up AT&T’s code and 15,000 pages of documentation. It was not exactly bug-free and therefore took us longer to bring to market. At least now it’s usable and not incorrect, he said. UHC started life in Austin, Texas about a year ago as UnixHouse, subsequently moving and changing its name. It is a privately-held company owned by a family firm in Arizona called Anam Inc that is into property, ranching and oil and gas. UHC’s second product line, a family of 80386 and 80486 boxes, has been forced to take a back seat to its current software interests, but is still available. The high-end, representing an installed base of a couple of dozen units, includes an Intel 80486-plus-80860 EISA bus machine currently running Unix APX and priced from $30,000. It will move to 80860 Unix as soon as that software completes its AT&T certification.

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