A Product Parade At Usenix Show

Mitch Wagner
UNIX Today!

June 12, 1989

Baltimore-Sixty-two computer companies plan to strut their wares before an expected 2,500 attendees at the spring Usenix conference, which starts today.

For at least a couple of those companies, the conference will be a ground-breaking event.

It will be the first Usenix conference that Apple Computer attends. Usenix also will be the first Unix conference Apollo attends as a division of Hewlett-Packard.

Several products piggybacking on AT&T's new C++ offering (see story, page 3) will be debuting and there will be some news (or, rather, NeWS, aka Sun Microsystems' Network-Extensible Window System) about "Star Wars" (aka the Strategic Defense Initiative).

About half the companies contacted by UNIX Today! expect their booths to contain new products.

All of this will be going on at the vendor exhibition area, just part of an event that Usenix spokeswoman Donnalyn Frey called "the premier Unix, C and C++ technical conference in the world."

The Usenix conferences have been held for about 14 years, and there have been some changes during that time, said Frey.

While maintaining the core group of attendees drawn from the ranks of the technically sophisticated, the conference is also beginning to attract less knowledgeable Unix users, reflecting the increasing popularity of Unix in the business world, said Frey.

"You see a lot more people who are not the die-hard gurus who have been around for 15 years," she said.

Highlights of the five-day conference include works-in-progress sections, where companies give 10-minute talks about products under development; and BOFS (Birds-of-a-Feather Sessions), where users with common hardware and applications get together to discuss their needs and products.

Technical seminars are scheduled for later in the week, on topics ranging from programming techniques and systems administration to computer security and intellectual-property law.

Apple plans to be a significant player at the conference.

The company will chair a BOFS on how traditional Macintosh applications can run under A/UX Version 1.1, the latest release of Apple's proprietary Unix-like operating system. Apple will also participate in a networking demonstration, along with standard Unix-based systems from multiple vendors.

At the vendor exhibition, Apple will demonstrate development tools and applications running on A/UX for programming, personal productivity, publishing and presentation, and multivendor integration.

At least two third-party software releases for Apple computers are planned.

Cayman Systems of Cambridge, Mass., is scheduled to unveil upgrades to its GatorBox package of Ethernet interfaces for Apple computers running Mac OS.

Cayman said it will upgrade GatorBox to comply with AppleTalk Phase 2. The GatorBox upgrade will be free to current GatorBox users, the company said.

Cayman also plans several other changes to GatorBox, including adding the GatorBox T, which allows communication between LocalTalk and Token Ring networks. GatorBox T will be available in the fourth quarter of 1989, priced at $3,495.

"GatorShare" will split the AppleShare-to-NFS translator from the GatorBox and make it an option, providing a file-sharing gateway between Macintoshes, workstations and minicomputers. It will be available in the third quarter of 1989.

"GatorPrint," an option to be added to GatorBox, will allow Unix computers to print to LocalTalk-based printers, and, in a later release, will allow Macintoshes to print to PostScript-based printers connected to Unix computers.

GatorBox pricing will be restructured to reflect the unbundling of these options. GatorBoxes with entry-level software is expected to be priced at $2,795; GatorShare is expected to be priced at $1,995; and GatorPrint at $595.

"GatorCard E/II" will connect a Macintosh II, IIx or IIcx to standard Ethernet or Thin Ethernet, while "GatorCard E/SE" and "GatorCard E/30" will do the same for the Macintosh SE and Macintosh SE/30.

StarNine Technologies of Berkeley, Calif., will debut Mail*Link SMTP, a software gateway for Macintosh computers between Macintosh Mail and all SMTP mail systems, including Unix sendmail. Mail*Link runs on a Macintosh Mail Server using Apple MacTCP for TCP/IP communications and turns the Macintosh server into a SMTP host, according to StarNine.

The software features automatic notifications, binary enclosures, and shorthand address support, the company said. Mail*Link will be available in July. A license for one to 10 Mac users is $795, the company said.

Mt. Xinu, Berkeley, Calif., will be demonstrating "Mac Mach," a port of the Mach Unix-like kernel written for the Macintosh II, the first of four platforms Mt. Xinu plans to port Mach onto-the others are the Sun-3, IBM RT and DEC VAX-beginning in January, said Alan Tobey, marketing manager for Mt. Xinu.

The price of the Mach ports is expected to be under $10,000 each.

Apollo will be demonstrating Apollo-HP's heterogeneous Unix interoperability, demonstrating cross-targeted development between the two companies' dissimilar platforms, said Joe Olejnik, regional marketing manager for the Apollo division of HP.

The trade show will be the site of a display by Open Vistas, a six-week-old group of about a dozen vendors and users that have licensed NeWS.

Silicon Graphics will be showing uses of NeWS for 3-D modeling, and other companies will be showing NeWS up and running on Macintoshes, PCs running OS/2, HP 9000s and the Amiga, said Anthony Flynn, an Open Vistas director.

Los Alamos National Labs, an Open Vistas member, will be showing how it uses NeWS in planning strategies for the Strategic Defense Initiative, or "Star Wars" defense system, said Flynn.

The Toronto-based HCR Corp. will debut its new C++ compiler Tuesday. The compiler is based on C++ Version 2.0, which AT&T released last week.

Version 2.0 adds a number of new features to C++, the most important of which makes it possible to borrow objects from packages put out by other distributors, said HCR president Mike Tilson.

HCR/C++, which the company claims to be the first packaged version of C++, will ship before the end of July at an introductory price of $499. Its list price will be $995. Users of HCR/C++ Version 1 will be able to upgrade to Version 2 for $99, the company said. The compiler will also include dbXtra, HCR's window-based enhancement of the dbx Version 3.0 debugger.

Language Processors, Framingham, Mass., will debut New C, a fully conforming ANSI C compiler, for Intel 80386-based systems, Motorola 680X0 series systems, Motorola 88000 RISC-based systems and Sun SPARC.

New C is compatible with pre-ANSI C implementations, including PCC-based compilers and other Kernighan and Ritchie implementations. It includes an integrated pre-processor, standard run-time library, function prototypes, optical in-line code generation of math and string-handling functions and support for several floating-point coprocessors.

Prices for New C begin at $695 for a 80386 single-user system. It is now available directly from LPI.

Saber Software, Cambridge, Mass., will be demonstrating a port of the Saber C Programming Environment for the Sun 386i, Sun-3, and Sun-4 workstations, priced at $2,495, said company president Sesha Pratap.

Digital Equipment will be discussing progress on its extended remote procedure call project, said Peter Kobs, spokesman for the Nashua, N.H.-based Digital Systems Software Group.

The project will extend remote procedure call software, allowing shared processing among many different workstations, he said. The project is a joint effort with Apollo, IBM, Nixdorf, Hewlett-Packard and Prime Computer, said Kobs. The companies plan to offer the results of the project to the Open Software Foundation as possible suggested standards, Kobs said, declining further comment.

DEC plans a progress report on its plans to update its Ultrix-32 operating system and Ultrix Worksystem Software, Kobs said.

DEC will also discuss how it will migrate to the OSF/1 operating system, its RISC strategy and new applications for the DECstation 3100 and DECsystem 3100 computers, Kobs said.

Sony Microsystems will demonstrate an image storing and retrieval system, which will be formally announced in August at UniForum East, said a spokesman for the Sony Workstations Division. The system combines a Sony News workstation with Sony Erasable Optical Drive and Unifying Informix software. The system digitizes video images and still photos for manipulation.

The erasable optical drive has a memory capacity of 594 Mbytes, with the workstation having 6 Mbytes of RAM, expandable to 32 Mbytes. The product is targeted for financial institutions, education, government agencies and insurance companies. "Anything where people need quick access to source documents to improve internal productivity and source times is a potential market," the spokesman said.

Prices for the Document Workstation are expected to be under $35,000. The product will be available primarily to systems integrators, value-added resellers and OEMs.

Xylogics, Burlington, Mass., said it will debut Serial Line Internet Protocol software designed to give dial-up Ethernet access to remote X-Window System and PC users. The software allows MS-DOS-based PCs to remotely access Unix servers, mainframes and other resources on an Ethernet network running industry standard Network File System with PC-NFS, according to Xylogics.

Alternatively, the software can provide local Ethernet connections for PCs at about half the price of a PC Ethernet card, which can be useful for laptop computers with no card option, the company said.

Intergraph, Huntsville, Ala., plans to debut community software from Technology Concepts that allows Intergraph workstations to link to DEC computers.


Copyright 1989 CMP Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.