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Caldera calls on SunSoft

Linux-based environment to get Wabi and other Sun- & Java-related news

By Carolyn W.C. Wong,SunWorld Onlineand Rob Guth,IDG News Service, Tokyo Bureau

March  1996
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Hoping to lure more customers to its recently released Caldera Network Desktop, Caldera has licensed and ported SunSoft's Wabi to its Linux-based operating system and user environment. Wabi, SunSoft's Microsoft Windows API translator, ported to Caldera's rendition of Linux, allows users to run popular, but not all, Windows applications on the Caldera Network Desktop.

Caldera, privately-held and funded by former Novell Chairman Ray Noorda's NFT Management, is targeting customers in the small office/home office/telecommuting market. These customers either own small businesses or are users who want connections to office applications and the Internet, or their corporate Intranet from home or while traveling.

Wabi will ship on the Caldera Solutions CD bundled with the Caldera Network Desktop by the end of the second quarter. The CD-ROM also includes such applications as WordPerfect and CorelDRAW, which users can purchase separately. Wabi on the Caldera Solutions CD will be priced less than $200. The Caldera Network Desktop currently costs $99 and became available in February.

Linux is a shareware clone of Unix for DOS-compatible PCs (a PowerPC version is in the works) that's becoming popular among computer enthusiasts. Caldera is considered the most ambitious bundler of Linux software.

"The deal will definitely help Wabi become more widely distributed, especially in light of Linux' popularity," said Jean S. Bozman, research manager in the Unix and Server Operating Environment at IDC. "And it's catching the Caldera Network Desktop at the beginning of its shipment." Although Sun claims that more than one million copies of Wabi have been licensed, Wabi comes bundled with Solaris which is shipped with every Sun workstation. "Wabi does solve a problem, but to say that Wabi is everywhere is certainly not the case," Bozman said.

16-bit Wabi will also have to move to 32-bit soon. While most Windows desktops are still 16-bit, Windows 95 and Windows NT are both 32-bit, and Wabi will have to keep up as these operating systems gain marketshare and software vendors rewrite their apps. Andrew Halford, general manager of PC Desktop Integration at SunSoft, declined to specify when 32-bit Wabi will be available. He said development is in progress, and the company will be prepared to meet customer demand.


In other Sun-related news...

JavaSoft releases new Java Developer's Kit
On March 15, JavaSoft released version 1.0.1 of its Java Developer's Kit. JavaSoft says the release corrects two security-related bugs; one related to DNS and another related to a classloader. The new release is for Solaris/SPARC and Windows. A Macintosh version is reportedly in the works.

JavaSoft is referring developers to and for more information about Java-related security.

Fujitsu unveils Ultra-SPARC-based teraflop supercomputer
In Tokyo, Fujitsu's High Performance Computing Group unveiled an upgrade to its AP line of supercomputers which, the company hopes, will help open up supercomputing to a broader range of applications.

Based on Sun Microsystems Inc.'s UltraSPARC processors, the AP3000 can scale from 4 to 1,024 nodes, and perform up to one trillion floating point operations per second, or one teraflop.

Following the shift away from use of proprietary operating systems on large systems, the AP3000 runs Sun's Solaris operating system version 2.5 or higher. This gives the system the ability to run any of about 12,000 applications, officials said.

The massively-parallel, scalar unit does not share memory among nodes. Instead each node has its own local memory -- expandable up to 51 megabytes, officials said.

The unit also uses AP-NET, a Fujitsu network technology which allows 200M bytes-per-second data transfer among nodes, they said.

An upgrade to the current AP1000, the AP3000 will ship from December this year, with prices starting at $267,000, officials said.

SMCC opens doors on server test center
SMCC, the Sun division responsible for making and selling hardware, opened the doors on its Enterprise Server Test Center. The lab is a collection of 10 SPARCservers outfitted with an impressive assortment of storage devices totaling 13 terrabytes. The largest server sports 7.7 terabytes of storage.

Sun hopes the lab will attract independent software developers who want to benchmark their products on terabyte-sized databases.

Mitsubishi Electric, NTT Data reveal Java plans

Electronics equipment giant Mitsubishi Electric Corp. said it will license Java. Meanwhile Japanese systems integrator NTT Data Communications System Corp. has disclosed plans to develop a Java-based data retrieval system.

These latest moves are symptomatic of the global fervor surrounding Java, and lengthen the growing list of Japanese vendors now developing Java-based hardware and software.

Existing Japanese licensees include Toshiba Corp. Fujitsu Ltd., Hitachi Ltd., and Internet terminal maker Bandai Digital Entertainment Co. Ltd. Meanwhile a host of others, including Sharp. Corp. and Sega Enterprises Ltd. are considering licenses, sources said.

Following close on the heels of its US subsidiary, which licensed Java earlier this year, Tokyo-based parent company Mitsubishi Electric is developing several Java-based products including a handheld terminal, an Internet terminal -- targeted at the $500 price range -- a "contents provision system" and corporate information systems, according to a company spokesman.

The spokesman disclosed no details of plans other than that Mitsubishi Electric will port Java to its M32R microprocessor and use the chip in the handheld terminal and a set-top box that supports Java.

Products will be marketed beginning next year, he said.

NTT Data Communications System's Java-based data retrieval system, meanwhile, allows users through a visual interface to retrieve data from several services such as electronic libraries, a spokesman said.

Due to be used in-house from next month, the system will be commercialized at an unspecified date, he said.

Internet terminal roundup

Sources at Sun have revealed that "Kona" is the code name for the operating system used in its modem-sized Internet Terminals, and that Bud Tribble, former project leader on SunSoft's object-oriented software effort eventually named "Neo," is Sun's new vice president of Internet strategy.

In Japan, video game giant Sega Enterprises made its entrance into the emerging network terminal battlefield with a $190 modified version of Sega's 32-bit Saturn home video game machine. The device, which requires a modem, and is intended for the Japanese market.

Sega will announce a US version -- the Internet Saturn -- at the Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles this May. A Sega spokeswoman confirmed that such a plan was under consideration but noted that no final decision had been made.

The US unit will house a hard drive and come bundled with modem and communications software. In addition, Sega will offer an Internet connection kit option and separately available keyboard and floppy drive. Two modem options will be offered: One a 14.4K-bits- per-second modem and the other 28.8K bps. No price information is available.

Nintendo will likely offer Netscape Communications Inc.'s Navigator browser with future game machines.

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