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Readers comment on PC connectivity
Linking PCs to Unix an agonizing ordeal
We gave SunWorld Online readers the chance to comment in essay form on their thoughts on PC connectivity, and many seized that opportunity.
The comments are reproduced as received; only some minor spelling and punctuation errors have been corrected. -- Editors
- Date: Tue Oct 1 09:40:53 PDT 1996
- Too expensive (lots of small "plug-ins" to be purchased in order to have
connectivity working, huge administering time).
- Date: Tue Oct 1 17:50:08 PDT 1996
- poor backup and inconsistent file sharing ability.
- Date: Tue Oct 1 20:25:59 PDT 1996
- Netbios type networking should come with the operating system. It would
make connecting machines _much_ easier.
- Date: Wed Oct 2 01:23:29 PDT 1996
- We need more comprehensive tools on Unix servers to administrate PCs (or
NCs in future). - software assets management - security management - remote
control (of PCs, NCs)
- Date: Wed Oct 2 01:49:19 PDT 1996
- Not really problems, as we have homegrown telnet clients for PC, and PC
files are in Novell servers.
- Date: Wed Oct 2 05:42:00 PDT 1996
- Routing print requests to HP jet direct cards. Rasterizing loads on PC
(rather Rasterize on Unix box) are excessive. Selecting proper formats for
unix boxes to print to current (popular) printers. The postscript animal
has diverged due to hardware specificity. Every body and his brother has a
TCP/IP package. Win 95 is a tricky critter to manage. Trickier still to
network peer-to-peer. Viruses suck the life out of PC's. MLV's will only
add to benefits of OLE. Go CORBA. JDW
- Date: Wed Oct 2 05:49:45 PDT 1996
- Ease of connectivity through PC front end. We have invested considerable
amounts in Sun hardware and want to leverage off that to connect the PCs.
- Date: Wed Oct 2 05:55:21 PDT 1996
- How to integrate PCs and Macs with Unix to a degree that allows all three
systems and applications to interoperate transparently to the use. The
goal is to have a desktop with any of the three OS show application icons
on all three systems that can be initiated from any user desktop, run
somewhere on a compute server (when the application is not native to that
users desktop OS), but have the application's I/O work correctly to the
- Date: Wed Oct 2 06:43:02 PDT 1996
- I would really like to have Solaris 2.x for x86 running on our PCs.
However SunSoft's Marketing Department must be realistic in their pricing
of their PC products. They need to bring their OS down below $100 if they
want to compete with MicroSloth or Linux.
- Date: Wed Oct 2 10:32:14 PDT 1996
- Providing seamless and transparent data access across multiple platforms
so that the user can think of the network as a collection of services as
opposed to a collection of servers. Our current environment still requires
the end-user to know some of the underlying architecture before they can
access some services.
- Date: Wed Oct 2 11:11:57 PDT 1996
- Do we run the applications on the server and use the PC as an X-terminal
or do we place the applications on the PC? The former is likely to be
slower. The latter is likely to be more expensive and more difficult to
manage. With Java we could have both the speed of local execution and the
ease of centralized management. However, this requires that Java
applications be available and it also requires that the data be available
to the server.
- Date: Wed Oct 2 13:35:49 PDT 1996
- Whether we have enough staff to handle overhead should a PC-->unix
hardware connection fail for technical reasons
- Date: Wed Oct 2 23:49:22 PDT 1996
- Most of our TCP/IP infrastructure is out-of-the-box Windows 95. We use NFS
Maestro, which has more features then we need, and has never given a
problem with function. We are still shopping for X-Server software, but
price is an issue. We struggled to find a Windows program editor that was
Unix text file friendly, and are trying win-emacs from Pearl Software, but
are not entirely satisfied with its ease-of-use (not enough like Windows).
We are using SCCS for source code management and would like a better way
to drive this from PCs. Last year, our Sun was a technical desktop
machine. PCs running W95 have now replaced these, and the Classic has
become a dial-up Internet server and small file server. We are transferring
any key applications still left on the Sun to PCs. Although I have been
working with Unix for ten years now, we will probably not buy another Unix
machine. We are a company of three people, each with a W95 PC running MS
Office. We work from our home on a farm in Africa with a twisted pair
Ethernet. The Sun sits in a corner for compatibility testing of software,
and a legacy W3.1 sits in the kitchen for the kids to play on.
- Date: Thu Oct 3 02:24:35 PDT 1996
- If UNIX was invented by God, PC's were invented by you know who.....
- Date: Fri Oct 4 05:18:02 PDT 1996
- Microsoft unwillingness to allow utilization of other server types (i.e.
UNIX). This includes the groupware functions of MS Office which seem to
only work with a MS Mail server. Isn't there some way to replace their
MAPI client with a IMAP client that will support all the calls that their
groupware requires. I also have difficulties with their centralized
authorization scheme which requires a NT Server. This includes such things
as sharing MS Win 95 resources with other 95 users (I don't like the one
password per resource scheme, too much overhead in changing these
passwords and also too much risk).
- Date: Fri Oct 4 10:56:12 PDT 1996
- Mostly marketing and politics. To most people here, a new product from
Microsoft is "an upgrade", and anything else is "something to upgrade
from". In short, Microsoft's blood is (perceived as) blue.
- Date: Sat Oct 5 19:26:09 PDT 1996
- Complexity of installation and configuration.
- Date: Mon Oct 7 00:42:18 PDT 1996
- Reliability, security and most important, ease of support
- Date: Mon Oct 7 03:16:45 PDT 1996
- There are lots of problems, we can work around many of them but it takes
time and effort to do so. PC client configuration is a little time
consuming, and getting a working combination of hardware, O/S, TCP/IP and
nfs client which ought to be trivial usually throws up a few surprises. I
suspect a lot of problems are down to PC and PC OSes just being fairly bad
all the way through. Setting up Sun's PC-NFS isn't too bad, but we find
some machines it doesn't like or that don't like it. Hummingbird's client
is quite nice but we've had problems customizing it to automatically work
and it requires running hclnfsd on our main fileservers to get OLE2 apps
to work. We're now starting to put NT in to replace Windows 3.x, which
should give a more stable platform to start with, but again getting nfs
and X working reliably and seamlessly takes time and effort. Far too much
time and effort. With Unix boxes, you unpack it, plug it in and walk away.
Why is it so much trouble to get simple things like networking going on
- Date: Mon Oct 7 07:42:03 PDT 1996
- Trying to run CDE on Solaris servers displaying onto PCs (Windows 95/NT)
with X server software
- Date: Tue Oct 8 11:09:33 PDT 1996
- Date: Wed Oct 9 07:58:57 PDT 1996
- I work in local govt. and the cheapest solution usually wins, thus the
extended use of Samba. We have 35 licenses of PCNFS-Pro 2 but we are
migrating to Win95 and PCNFS has periodic failures in Win95 and causes us
trouble. I like the products and functionality of PCNFS-Pro, bu it is too
expensive and has Win95 trouble. My preference for all of this would be to
have a SUN developed and supported Samba-type package that was minimally
priced or just packaged with Solaris, because if you don't make access to
the Solaris from the PC cheap and stable, it makes Solaris servers hard to
sell to the organization. Please include a DHCP server package in the next
release of Solaris as well.
- Date: Wed Oct 9 14:02:45 PDT 1996
- We use Samba 1.9.x quite a bit, and have been disappointed by the
performance. Fortunately, most of our PC<->Unix needs are not very
demanding; we're primarily a UNIX (HP-UX and Solaris) shop. While
management is perfectly happy to purchase NFS for our PC systems, and the
performance is better, we are loathe to blow our budget on high-end NFS
solutions; we'd rather use Samba and and keep our budget for software
tools more directly related to our work, such as CASE and project
management tools. It seems unfortunate that most vendors only sell NFS as
part of an expensive bundle. We typically don't need any of the other
applications in the bundle, and want to run NFS over the Microsoft-supplied TCP/IP transport bundled with Win95.
- Date: Sat Oct 12 04:28:36 PDT 1996
- The PC being unreliable and under-performing
- Date: Mon Oct 14 04:42:03 PDT 1996
- It seems to be far more sensible to make the servers talk the protocols of
the clients. We faced far too many problems trying to get the PC's to talk
NFS. It takes too many system resources and is not compatible with all
applications. Having the servers talking all protocols reduces cost and
provides much greater reliability, it also reduces the admin overhead as
you only have one problem to manage rather than several. I think Sun
should seriously think about including packages like Samba, Caps or
TotalNet with Solaris.
- Date: Mon Oct 14 15:13:18 PDT 1996
- Backing up the PC with UNIX tools.
- Date: Sun Oct 20 14:20:09 PDT 1996
- network adapter support by Sun...(new adapters come out...do not work with
PC-NFS... protocol compatibility between different styles of
networks...AS400 emulation and Sun PC-NFS coexistence on personal
computers no documented standards for PC TCP/IP and the methods a PC uses
for determining what "DLL's" get stuffed in directories and also into
configuration files, such as the "win.ini" and the "system.ini"...this
results in conflicts with applications and system instability... Looking
for a successor to SUN PC-NFS that allows transparent use of NFS under
Windows/WIN95/NT, and provides support for DOS... Is Sun PC-NFS 5.1a the
last release of PC-NFS???
- Date: Tue Oct 22 16:01:43 PDT 1996
- Ease of use/configuration for multiple use (e.g., ppp and inhouse).
Periodic bouts with losing services. Periodic (frequent) problem with
using a license server. The pc will display a message saying it already
has a valid license even though it is temporary until a plum server issues
a license. Thereafter, the temp license expires and the pc needs to be
rebooted to be able to get another license assigned.
- Date: Wed Oct 23 08:35:05 PDT 1996
- The limitations of Windows 3.1 has become such a problem that we are
moving away from the Win31 client <--> UNIX server platform in some areas
where MS Apps are used. These areas are moving to Windows NT & NT servers.
Your questionaire assumed that the solution would be to move away from PCs
altogether. (Questions 17-19). This isn't the case. It's Unix workstations
that may go away entirely, not PC desktops. I don't quite agree with this
solution myself, I prefer UNIX over NT. I do prefer NT to Win31/DOS
"operating systems", so I have to admit the move will improve the
situation. Fortunately, our real-time applications that are required to
always be up and always running are sticking with UNIX workstations- for
the time being...
- Date: Wed Oct 23 20:38:33 PDT 1996
- 1) Lack of 32-bit NFS v3 implementations 2) Lack of NFS testing and
performance benchmarking programs
- Date: Thu Oct 24 12:45:01 PDT 1996
- Difficulty in installation & configuration Compatibility and functionality
problems with applications performance
- Date: Thu Oct 24 21:39:59 PDT 1996
- Novell <--> Unix integration. Applications.. ie: Word for Windows but not
workstations. Email -- Good client that works on both. with automatic mail
filing, and shared Directory services
- Date: Mon Oct 28 17:57:39 PST 1996
- Microsoft blows....Unix and Macs rock!
- Date: Wed Oct 30 06:46:09 PST 1996
- Seamless integration with common network services.
- Date: Thu Oct 31 05:00:51 PST 1996
- Single sign-on is our major issue. The refusal of Sun to recognize the
reality of Microsoft's market dominance is a major headache. (See for
example Scott McNealy's recent comments to the Australian press claiming
that the use of Microsoft products is banned within Sun Microsystems.) We
will have around 400 Windows NT systems and 4 Solaris systems when our
desktop conversion is complete. It is absurd to expect us to adapt the 400
systems to fit the 4 systems. Please, please follow the example of Digital
and HP and make Solaris work with Windows NT, rather than concentrating
your energies on trying to displace it. In particular, the ability to
accept NT domain authentication for single sign-on would make our lives
(and our users' lives) much easier.
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Last update: 1 November 1996
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