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SGI fires up Octane workstations

HP-UX gets boost from Hitachi

February  1997
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SGI fuels engineering workstations

Paris (01/27/97) -- Silicon Graphics Inc. has launched its new Octane family of workstations, which it is aimed at the engineering, science, defense, and broadcast markets.

The Octane line features a new, seven-port crossbar-switch architecture and 1.6 gigabytes-per-second peak bandwidth, said Philippe Colleau, an official with Silicon Graphics France.

The Octane systems are available with one or two MIPS RISC R10000 64-bit processors, running at 175 MHz or 195 MHz. Three different levels of graphics, all upgradable, are available: the S1 (with 120 million pixels-per-second fill rate); the SS1 (with 240 million pixels/second fill rate) and the MXI (with 240 million pixels/second fill rate, plus 4 megabytes of texture memory).

In April, the Octane line will be enhanced with new video and compression options, including the following:

According to an SGI statement released in the U.S., all Octane systems come standard with 10Base-T/100Base-TX Ethernet, analog and digital audio I/O, external stereo speakers, 64 megabytes or 128 megabytes of memory, 2 gigabytes or 4 gigabytes of disk, a 20-inch monitor, and one of the three graphics options. U.S. system pricing starts at $24,995, with dual processing versions starting at $33,995.

--Elizabeth Heichler and Joanne Taaffe, IDG News Service, Paris Bureau

SGI to offer Cosmo Worlds for Windows NT

Boston (01/29/97) -- In a move that emphasizes its commitment to 3-D graphics software, Silicon Graphics Inc. (SGI) said it will move beyond its proprietary platform and release a version of its Cosmo Worlds development package for Windows NT.

Separately, SGI announced an agreement with Netscape Communications Corp. to combine its VRML 2.0 (virtual reality modeling language) client technologies into a single plug-in for Netscape's Communicator browser.

Until now, Cosmo Worlds was available only for users of Silicon Graphics workstations. The company said a version for PC will help the industry move forward as well as capitalize on the growing market for Web authoring tools. Cosmo Worlds for Silicon Graphics and Windows NT is scheduled to be released by the end of the year; pricing has not yet been set. The current version sells for $2,300.

SGI will also license Netscape's Live3D VRML client and combine it with its own Cosmo Player viewing software. The result, to be released at the end of the second quarter, will become the default VRML component in Netscape Communicator, Netscape's forthcoming browser suite. Live3D as a product will no longer exist, although elements of its technology will remain in Cosmo Player, spokeswoman Donna Sokolsky said.

The combined effort is expected to offer a VRML 2.0 client for Windows, Macintosh and Unix systems with a common user interface, common JavaScript scripting language, and common Java API (the External Authoring Interface, or EAI).

--James Niccolai, IDG News Service, Boston Bureau

HP, Hitachi to Bolster HP-UX

Tokyo (01/22/97) -- Expanding on an existing relationship, Hewlett-Packard Co. (HP) and Hitachi Ltd. have signed an agreement intended to bolster HP's implementation of the Unix operating system, the companies announced.

The first fruits of the joint development will appear in the next version of the HP-UX operating system, due later this year, they said. Under the agreement, HP will use technology from Tokyo-based Hitachi that will allow applications and databases to be in use while the system on which they are running is being reconfigured, an HP spokesman said. That capability should make it easier for network administrators to install peripheral drivers, he said.

The HP-UX enhancements are the latest in several joint efforts between the two companies, which include development of HP's PA-RISC chip architecture and the design and manufacture of systems running a Hitachi derivation of HP-UX.

The companies said they expect to broaden their joint work to include enhancements to future generations of HP-UX designed to run on a 64-bit RISC/CISC hybrid processor now under development by HP and Intel Corp.

--Rob Guth, IDG News Service, Tokyo Bureau

What are IBM's RS/6000 network plans?

Boston (01/21/97) -- IBM's RS/6000 division plans several enhancements to its network computing hardware/software bundles aimed at making it easier for corporate users to set up a Web presence.

The February 11 announcements are expected to include a new browser-based installation process for IBM's POWERSolutions Web application bundles, "so that you don't have to learn any Unix," said Tim Dougherty, manager of network computing solutions in IBM's RS/6000 division. IBM also plans to add Netscape's Catalog Server and Directory Server to its POWERSolutions roster, as well as add support for Netscape's LiveWire and LiveWire Pro. It also plans to give away its Net.Data database gateway free with each POWERSolution.

IBM also is expected to announce worldwide availability of its Net.Commerce merchant server, as well as support for nine languages, Dougherty said. Net.Commerce will now also include Secure Electronic Transaction-enabled credit card transaction processing, and will be able to hook into any ODBC-compliant database, he said.

IBM also is due to will announce that it will ship a free, uniprocessor version of Lotus Development Corp.'s Domino 4.5 application and messaging server with every copy of AIX 4.2 on its RS/6000 machines, Dougherty said. It will also include a single copy of the 4.5 client for administration. By midyear, IBM plans to announce special RS/6000 hardware/software bundles targeted at Internet service providers, Dougherty said.

--Sari Kalin, IDG News Service, Boston Bureau

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