Originally published in the February 1995 issue of Advanced Systems.


Busy anniversary

Advanced Systems is about the world of computing from the Unix professional's perspective.

By Michael E. McCarthy

Here's a question for you. You're building a next-generation computing system for your enterprise. It consists of Windows PCs as clients hooked through Unix-based servers to one or more mainframes used as data warehouses. What have you got? A PC system? A Unix system? A mainframe system?

Answer: None of these. You've got an advanced system -- not a technical system, or a host-based system, or a personal-productivity system, but a system designed to take enterprise computing into the 21st century. That's the way the world is evolving, and that's the way this magazine has evolved over the past six years. But I still get questions: What is Advanced Systems? Are you a Unix magazine? Will you cover NT? Do you write about client/server?

It used to be so simple. We were SunWorld, the magazine for Sun sites. As the world became more heterogeneous, we had to cover the rest of the Unix market, too. Ultimately, Unix stopped being a niche and became too important for us to ignore the rest of the computing world. So, a year ago this month we changed our name to Advanced Systems.

It may not trip lightly off the tongue, but as magazine titles go, "open" has become old-fashioned, and "client/server" has been grabbed by mainframe magazines trying to seem modern. We believe Advanced Systems has some precedent: It's what hardware vendors used to call their Unix divisions, what our research firm, IDC, calls the market of Unix and its 32-bit and 64-bit competitors, and even what Microsoft calls its NT Server business group.

It signifies the new world of computing, a world that is raiding Unix for resources, concepts, and expertise to build the next generation of computing. It's a mixed environment that increasingly ties together the old-fashioned, host-based, proprietary-lock-in world of mainframes with the merely personal-productivity lightly networked world of PCs. This new world is linked together with servers running Unix -- or other operating environments that are Unix-like in their features: 32-bit or 64-bit, layered, modular, inherently networked, flexible, highly customizable, with broad support of platforms and open APIs, supporting multitasking and multiprocessing, with a modern memory model and sophisticated toolsets, and capable of acting as glue and middleware to tie the enterprise together.

We call these advanced systems, with Unix as the foremost example and Unix professionals as their foremost champions.

Point of view
What makes Advanced Systems different from all other magazines trying to get a bite of the new enterprise pie? What is our mission? We define ourselves as the magazine of the world of computing from the perspective of the Unix professional.

Computerworld and InfoWorld, two sister publications in our IDG family, have complementary missions. Computerworld covers computing from the point of view of the MIS professional, while InfoWorld looks at computing from the viewpoint of the PC professional. (They were lucky not to have to change their names as they evolved their missions.)

It's been an exciting year at Advanced Systems: market-leading server reviews; a Cray in the lab; new columns on careers, client/server products, software tools, and the inimitable Harris & Randy; plus IDC's back-page market analysis. We don't plan to let up in 1995. Just take a look at our NFS server review comparison in this issue (see page 22), where we run the first independent LADDIS benchmarks ever, and don't forget to check out our first Connectivity column. As always, keep in touch and let me know if we're doing the job for you.

About the author
Michael McCarthy is editor in chief of Advanced Systems. Reach him at michael.mccarthy@advanced.com.

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Last updated: 1 February 1995.