SUG East: Solaris 2.6 due August 18

Sun to drop PowerPC support, encourage SCO migration

Boston (June 4, 1997) -- Sun Microsystems Inc. plans to ship the next upgrade of its Solaris Unix operating environment in August, featuring support for large files as well as Web improvements.

The first customer ship date for Solaris 2.6 is expected to be August 18, said Russell Hammer, a systems engineer at Sun, speaking during a Sun User Group (SUG) East meeting session here yesterday.

One of the most significant enhancements in Solaris 2.6 is support for 64-bit files, which will extend Solaris' file handling size limit from two gigabytes to roughly 1 terabyte, Hammer said. Solaris 2.7 will support 64-bit addressing, which will further increase the size of files that Solaris will be able to handle.

Sun, IBM, and Hewlett-Packard Co. have been migrating to a full 64-bit Unix in phases, to ease the transition for customers, according to Jean Bozman, research manager, Unix & Client/Server Operating Environments at International Data Corp. in Mountain View, CA. The full 64-bit versions should be out later this year and early next year, she said. The vendors expect only a portion of their customers to embrace the 64-bit capability right away -- most likely those companies that have large data warehouses. "By putting in some pieces of [64-bit capability] earlier, it allows [customers] to develop their applications so when they get to the full 64-bit stuff it will be developed," Bozman said.

New Web features integrated into Solaris 2.6 include Sun's Java virtual machine version 1.1.2, Sun's HotJava Web browser, and Sun's Web server, Hammer said. Sun will also offer Web-based online help (see Resources below), Hammer said.

Solaris 2.6 will drop support for the PowerPC chip, a platform added one year ago, Hammer said.

On the X86 front, Sun plans to make it easier for users of the Santa Cruz Operation Inc.'s (SCO) Intel Unix to migrate to Solaris' Intel version, Hammer said.

"We clearly see SCO as an opportunity," Hammer said. "There are a lot of SCO systems out there. As we go in, we'd like to offer them solutions on X86 and offer a migration path for them."

SCO is the leader of the Unix on Intel market, Bozman said. It is undergoing a product transition now, merging its OpenServer version of Unix with UnixWare, which it acquired from Novell Corp. It also announced a reorganization today. "Sun may feel that they have an opportunity because of all the change that's going on in SCO," Bozman said.

--Sari Kalin, IDG News Service, Boston Bureau