SunSoft introduces first shrink-wrapped distributed computing solution: Solaris

Business Wire

September 4, 1991

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- SunSoft, the system software subsidiary of Sun Microsystems Inc., Wednesday raised the bar in the software market with its introduction of Solaris, the industry's first ``shrink-wrapped'' distributed computing environment available in volume on a compact disc.

Solaris will be available on the computing industry's highest-volume multivendor platforms, SPARC-based RISC systems and Intel 80386/486-based personal computers.

The announcement was made at SunSoft's Catalyst Developers Conference, which had more than 1,000 attendees from around the world. Today's introduction is the company's first major product launch since starting business July 1 and represents its opening move in the hotly contested market for advanced system software.

Most system software available today is designed for stand-alone computers. However, SunSoft's Solaris integrates the world's leading distributed computing technologies to empower the workgroup. Solaris is a total system software solution integrating a 3-D desktop metaphor with a robust developer environment that is founded on the industry's most powerful 32-bit operating system, SunOS.

This operating system now incorporates the UNIX System V Release 4 (SVR4) industry standard, which unites 80 percent of the 10 million UNIX users. Solaris also features support for next-generation technologies, such as symmetric multiprocessing and multithreading, to drive volume on the commercial desktop.

``While other companies are talking about making distributed computing a reality, at SunSoft, we're there,'' said Edward J. Zander, president of SunSoft. ``Solaris offers 32-bit power, symmetric multiprocessing with multithreading, application interoperability and objects -- the kind of technologies that will be required for developing next-generation networked applications.''

Some of the world's largest computer vendors today announced support for Solaris on the Intel platform. Novell announced it will partner with SunSoft to introduce the Solaris product for intel to its reseller channels and incorporate its NetWare network operating system products into SunSoft's new distributed computing environments.

ASCII Corp., Japan's largest PC and UNIX software company, announced that it will distribute Solaris for Intel through its resellers in Japan.

Intel announced plans to cooperate with SunSoft to ensure that Solaris 2.0 will be optimized to run on the X86 platform.

Dell Computer Corp., one of the fastest-growing computer companies in the United States, announced that it will offer Solaris on its Intel-based products. AST Research, the third-highest volume supplier of 80486-based systems in the United States, certified that Solaris will run on its products. In addition, Toshiba, CompuAdd and NetFRAME, a leading supplier of PC superservers, expressed their support for Solaris on the Intel X86 platform.

Many of the leading SPARC vendors endorsed Solaris. CompuAdd, Solbourne, Tatung, Toshiba, and Sun Microsystems Computer Corp. announced that they will offer Solaris on their products. These companies offer a range of systems from laptops to mainframes.

In addition, ICL, the leading computer manufacturer in Europe, announced a collaboration with SunSoft to enable SVR4 applications to run unchanged on multiple SPARC platforms.

By making Solaris available on the SPARC and Intel platforms, SunSoft unites the world's highest-volume RISC and CISC platforms with a single computing environment. According to International Data Corp. (IDC), a market research group based in Framingham, Mass., SPARC captured 65 percent of the total RISC market in 1990.

Intel X86-based systems accounted for 84 percent of all computers shipped in 1990, according to IDC. Software written for Solaris on Intel an SPARC will be source code compatible, enabling developers to create one application that runs on both platforms.

Already, Solaris inherits a base of more than 3,600 third-party software and hardware products -- the industry's largest compatible 32-bit solution base.

More than 50 software developers, providing solutions for a range of commercial, productivity and technical markets, also announced support for SunSoft's new distributed computing environment. These include Lotus Development Corp., Ashton-Tate, WordPerfect, Oracle, Cadence, Ventura Software, Informix and ASK/Ingres.

Solaris: Shipping in Volume With a Path to the Future

Based on SunOS, the highest-volume 32-bit UNIX operating system, Solaris gives users the power of multitasking, multiprocessing and multithreading on the desktop.

Today, SunOS runs of 500,000 machines and represents more than 47 percent of the workstation market, according to Dataquest, a market research firm based in San Jose. Solaris has been designed to meet the needs of end users, software developers and system administrators in distributed computing environments.

For end users, Solaris offers the intuitive OPENLOOK 3-D desktop metaphor with multimedia workgroup productivity applications, making the network easily accessible by commercial desktops. For software developers, Solaris features a robust developer environment: OpenWindows with the object-oriented application interoperability product, ToolTalk, to easily create next-generation distributed applications. Lastly, for system administrators, Solaris includes ONC (Open Network Computing), the industry's most widely used heterogenous networking solution, with more than 1.3 million nodes.

Project DOE: Distributed Objects Everywhere -- SunSoft's Vision For the 1990s

Solaris extends the benefits of its distributed computing technologies to include object-oriented computing benefits for workgroups. SunSoft calls this vision Project DOE: Distributed Objects Everywhere.

``Distributed objects are de rigueur in the '90s,'' said Zander. ``And with Solaris, distributed technologies are within reach of every type of user.'' Solaris, unlike personal computer operating environments that require a total rewrite to move objects, provides a seamless path to distributed objects as it builds on SunOS. SunSoft is delivering the first component against its vision of Project DOE. In February 1991, SunSoft and Hewlett-Packard (HP) developed the industry's first Distributed Object Management Facility (Distributed MF). This was submitted to the Object Management Group (OMG). In June, SunSoft added to its object technology foundation with the introduction of ToolTalk. The product has been endorsed by a number of leading software vendors including Lotus Development Corp., Cadence, Valid and Clarity Software. Other elements of Project DOE will be introduced later this year.

Availability and Pricing

SunSoft offers two versions of Solaris.

Solaris 1.0 is based on SunOS 4.1.1, OpenWindows Version 2 and DeskSet Version 2. It is available immediately for all SPARC vendors in a shrink-wrapped package that includes a compact disc and documentation. It has a suggested retail price of $1,395 for traditionally configured workstations and a price of $795 for low-cost commercial systems, such as laptops. Solaris 1.0 is available through SunSoft and major computer system manufacturers worldwide.

Solaris 2.0 is based on SunSoft's latest SVR4-based SunOS 5.0 with symmetric multiprocessing and multithreading, and enhanced ONC. It features OpenWindows Version 3 and DeskSet Version 3. Solaris 2.0 is offered on the SPARC and Intel platforms. It maintains source compatibility with Solaris 1.0, providing a smooth migration path for software developers to SVR4. Developer copies of Solaris 2.0 on SPARC are available immediately through SunSoft. An early access release of Solaris for the SPARC and Intel platforms will be available on early 1992. Solaris 2.0 will be shipped in volume of both platforms in the first half of 1992. Pricing will be announced at that time. Product inquiries should be directed to SunSoft at 1-800/227-9227.

SunSoft Inc., headquartered in Mountain View, is a subsidiary of Sun Microsystems Inc. The company is the leading worldwide supplier of system software solutions for distributed computing. SunSoft's products are targeted at software developers, systems administrators and end users, and are licensed by SunSoft and sold through major computer system manufacturers and VARs worldwide.

Note to Editors: UNIX and OPEN LOOK are registered trademarks of UNIX System Laboratories Inc. Solaris, Catalyst, SunOS, ONC, Open Windows, ToolTalk and DeskSet are trademarks of Sun Microsystems Inc. licensed to SunSoft Inc. Prices are subject to change. All other products mentioned hearin are identified by the trademarks as designated by the companies who market these products. Inquiries concerning such trademarks should be made directly to those companies.

CONTACT: SunSoft Inc., San Jose Shernaz Daver, 415/336-0678 or Hi-Tech Public Relations Alan Kelly, 415/864-5600 15:17 ET


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