Computer, read me the e-mail and voice mail
- By Susan M. Menke
- Nov 27, 1995
The ultimate "thin" client could be your telephone
The federal furlough cut attendance at the trade show sharply. Alan Fedder, chairman of
the Washington Area Unix Users Group that sponsored the show, said many government
computer professionals had to stay at their offices, where they were considered essential
during the government shutdown.
Unix vendors have felt the fiscal 1996 spending pinch for several months, Fedder said.
But that didn't stop them from demonstrating several new secure Web tools at FedUnix.
The computer-telephone integration (CTI) products from SCO of Santa Cruz, Calif., will
be built around a Motorola Inc. chipset with help from Siemens Nixdorf and Northern
Telecom Inc. on the phone switch, Buchko said.
Novell Inc., which will complete handing over its Unix product line to SCO on Dec. 1,
is working on similar telephony projects with Rolm Communications Inc. Many other vendors
are developing CTI products for Microsoft Corp.'s telephony application programming
interface, known as TAPI.
SCO's Buchko, former chief information officer for the Army Corps of Engineers'
Washington activities, discounted the heavy bandwidth impact of telephony. "Once we
have a standard operating system" with asynchronous transfer mode, Fast Ethernet or
Integrated Services Digital Network connections, he said, the client demands will be
He said military logistics units, like their private-sector retail counterparts, have
shown intense interest in CTI, where both voice and data traffic eventually could coexist
on networks, morphing into the form users want at the time.
"You would still need a phone," Buchko said, "but you could use any
phone keypad to access your computer, hear your voice mail and e-mail read to you, and
access databases" by creating queries with the keypad. A phone jack, he said, will
take the place of sound cards in PCs, and future server cards--probably PC Cards--also
will have phone jacks.
In a scenario that could take five or more years of development, Novell is
collaborating with SCO on integrating NetWare Directory Services with the planned CTI
services, so that no matter where a LAN user logs in from a phone, "NDS knows you and
will let you work from that phone," Buchko said.
NetWare services within SCO's UnixWare should begin to show up in the first quarter of
1996 with the release of UnixWare 2.1, said Novell's Jeff Mackie.
FedUnix 95 showcased Web tools secure enough for military intelligence and disaster
A DCE-Web prototype integrated the Open Software Foundation's Distributed Computing
Environment with the Hypertext Transfer Protocol, Secure Sockets Layer Protocol and
DCE-Web would give users more control over how they distribute and find documents on
the dynamic Web, where things often get moved without notice, said Lance Travis of the OSF
Research Institute in Cambridge, Mass.
Travis said DCE name services, for example, are helpful in partitioning heavily used
Web databases and moving subsets to new servers without changing the hyperlink pointers.
The DCE-Web prototype, developed by Hewlett-Packard Co., AT&T Global Information
Solutions, CP Labs and Gradient Technologies Inc., complements existing Web components. So
far, there are a multiprotocol DCE-Web server, a "browser assistant," and secure
gateways between DCE-Web protocols and Web security protocols such as NetScape
Communications' Secure Sockets Layer.
DCE-Web developers said they plan to offer versions of the secure local proxy or
browser assistant for Unix, Microsoft Windows NT and MacOS. The secure local proxy
interface lets commercial Web browsers such as NetScape's interact with Web servers via a
The Web also plays a central part in the secure MLS+ Releasability Server, a prototype
developed for Global Command and Control System users to extract intelligence based on
their security levels and the data's classification label. The FedUnix 95 prototype used
commercial hardware and software from Digital Equipment Corp., Oracle Corp. and PRC Inc.
A battlefield user with a Web browser would click on a Web page hyperlink to invoke an
Oracle script, which would return a hot link to the needed data from a Trusted Oracle7
The prototype ran on a Digital Alpha server with the Multilevel Secure Compartmented
Mode Workstation operating system, Trusted Oracle7 database manager and multilevel X
Window interface. An Oracle Web gateway linked the Oracle7 database to a server on the
Defense Department's Intellink-S intelligence network.
Three sites now testing the secure server are the Joint Intelligence Center-Pacific at
Makalapa, Oahu; the Headquarters Joint Task Force at the Marine Corps Training Systems
Support Activity, Camp Pendleton, Calif.; and the Joint Demonstration and Evaluation
Facility at the Defense Information Systems Agency in Arlington, Va.