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November 4, 1991


By CBR Staff Writer

Unix System Laboratories Inc has been working hard behind the scenes to prepare Unix for its latest push into the desktop marketplace, and is now able to demonstrate early versions of the software, which it was secretly doing at Unix Expo last week. The provisional name for the product is EZ – easy – and it is likely to ship from the second quarter of 1992, for machines configured with a minimum of 4Mb RAM and 60Mb disk. Implementation of desktop Unix has been made easier by the long-term effort at Unix Labs to modularise Unix, which has involved extensive reviewing and re-writing of the original Unix code – a task set to benefit all future Unix releases, which will first appear in the recently launched ES extended security edition. As for EZ, at the lowest level it fits the C2 secure foundation module, with two layers of modules on top. The first set includes utilities, graphics and networking, and the second a development environment, security and administration stuff. Aside from the foundation, that’s six modules to pick and choose from. Absolute minimum configuration is 6Mb, and with everything it is 130Mb. The foundation module is expected to sell for $300 and the six modules for $800, though prices have not been fixed, and might well come in lower. EZ source code from Unix Labs will be sold in three ways: to distributors, OEM customers and to the joint venture being formed by Unix Labs with Novell Inc. The Tuxedo transaction processing monitor, Open Systems Interconnection and C++ will also be supplied to the joint venture, which is said to be planning Intel iAPX-86, 80860, Sparc and MIPS Computer Systems Inc Advanced RISC Computing implementations, and will add in both NetWare and Portable NetWare too, and plans to re-vamp those products to fit into the client/server world with Unix Labs’s help. From the joint venture, finished binaries will go to Novell and Unix Labs, though it is unclear whether Novell itself will be selling EZ. Unix Labs will also sell the binary to OEM customers and distributors along with the raw source offering. Also demonstrated at the show was an early version of its Open Look Intrinsics toolkit, which now offers a choice of Motif look and feel – Moolit. Unix EZ will include its own desktop manager, promising object-oriented features and functionality.

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