Sun Microsystems Inc has signed a technology transfer agreement with real-time specialist Force Computers Inc, under which the Campbell, California-based company will second source Sun’s Sparcengine 1E processor board. The 1E is a VMEbus version of the Sparcstation 1 motherboard, and will be available from Force, with integrated SunOS and real-time capabilities, from March. Sun hopes the deal will increase its presence in the real-time VME applications market. Sun’s long-term intention is to phase out VME board production, handing it over to Force, from which it will then buy-in boards to resell. Force is said to be already working on a VME version of the Sparcstation 2 engine that it will manufacture for both itself and Sun to market. Force – a committed supporter of the Futurebus+ effort also plans to deliver a Sparc-based Futurebus+ CPU at a later date. In addition to SunOS, Force is licensing its Open Network Computing architecture and the Open Look graphical user interface, enabling it to offer a board-level system with a real-time kernel and a development environment. Another real-time software vendor, Wind River Systems, is set to announce the availability of its VxWorks real-time Unix kernel on the Sparcstation 1 VME board, while other real-time players Microware Systems Corp and Uniflex also plan to deliver Sparc implementations later in the year.
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