Unix Strategy Update

Posted October 1996

The evolution of the SCO Xenix and UNIX operating systems continues unabated, and as-such will be affecting all users of INFONETICS Accounting software. As such, we are providing this review of where we’re at, and where we’re headed.

First, There Was Xenix

We first started using Santa Cruz Operations (SCO) Xenix operating in 1986, and it served us well for a number of years. Three primary limitations in Xenix drove us to upgrade to its bigger brother, SCO Unix, in early 1992. First, Xenix only supported 16 pseudo terminal sessions, thereby limiting “mscreen” use to only eight terminals. Second, it could only manage 16 Megabytes of RAM. And third, our Pentium line of systems required SCO UNIX in order to support large kernel configurations.

SCO UNIX Since ’94

All installations sold since mid ’94 have been of the SCO UNIX variety; specifically the SCO Open Server 3.0 release. Our accounting application software however, has always been capable of running under both Xenix and UNIX.

Everest (SCO UNIX Version 5) Implemented

This past year, SCO announced yet another upgrade of UNIX, code named “Everest”, officially named SCO Open Server 5.0. Most promising in this release are an advanced `C’ compiler/development system for writing faster, more efficient programs. And, we’ve successfully implemented this version on a development system here. It does indeed make it easier to write better programs that are faster and more efficient, and eliminates a huge programming barrier that has confounded adding features to some of our larger programs.

Not Ready For Prime-Time

However, use of this newest version of SCO UNIX as a general purpose operating system at our customers has presented a couple of problems. First, it requires more RAM to operate (like all O.S. upgrades seem to these days), and worse yet, some of our older hardware devices are no longer supported. These issues make it unsuitable as a platform for our customers, and we are therefore suspending our efforts at upgrading customers installations to SCO-UNIX Version 5 at this time.

Gemini (Merged SCO-UNIX/UNIXware) Coming

If that isn’t enough, SCO purchased the rights to the original, all time official version of UNIX, (originally developed by AT&T and later sold to Novell under the name UNIXware), from Novell earlier this year. SCO is busy working on a combined release of SCO Open Server 5.0 and UNIXware and have code-named this project Gemini. They have a target release date of early 1997.

Now For The Strategy Part…

We’ve decided to sit pat with our current release, and see what develops with the Gemini project. Fortunately, we’ve gotten all the advantages of SCO UNIX Open Server 5.0’s new `C’ compiler, without all the hassles of updating everyone to this interim release. So, if you’ve been watching our progress on this project, relax, it’s under control. And we’ll jump on Gemini as soon as it hits the shelves.