At NetWorld+Interop, OS makers make the case for interoperability

At NetWorld+Interop, OS makers make the case for interoperability

By Mark A. Kellner

Special to GCN

LAS VEGAS'Microsoft Corp. romanced Unix and open-source devotees at the NetWorld+Interop trade show last week, unveiling Windows Services for Unix 2.0.

Elsewhere in the operating system arena, Be Inc. of Menlo Park, Calif., announced it has received 1 million download requests for the free edition of its BeOS multimedia OS, which also is sold in a professional edition by independent publishers.

Be's chairman and chief executive officer, Jean-Louis Gass'e, a former top executive at Apple Computer Inc., said Be 'will continue to develop the operating system, which is the underlying foundation and development environment for BeIA, our software platform for Internet appliances.'

Building bridges

Microsoft's $149 Windows Services for Unix 2.0 tool set helps users and administrators bridge the gap between Unix and Windows in applications, file sharing and Web serving. The company said it 'helps create a logical enterprise network where resources are shared seamlessly and access control is simplified.'

Windows Services for Unix works with all Unix variants including SunSoft Solaris and Red Hat Linux 5.0 and higher versions from Red Hat Inc. of Durham, N.C.

James Slonsky, a Microsoft product manager, said the new release simplifies administration and account management for Unix and Windows NT networks. Incorporated in the package is Microsoft Interix 2.2, which lets users run Unix programs on NT and Windows 2000. Interix was acquired in Micro-soft's acquisition of developer Softway Systems Inc. of San Francisco last September.

'We're positioning it as the easiest way to integrate Windows 2000 into existing Unix environments,' Slonsky said. 'Our strategy is to integrate Interix technology into future versions of Services for Unix.'

Softway's Interix product had many federal customers, Slonsky said, including the IRS, which used the software in a Unix to NT migration. He said Microsoft did not design Services for Unix 2.0 to convert users entirely to Windows 2000.

'We're providing this as an interoperability solution,' he said. 'Customers have told us many times they're going to continue to have a mixed environment of Unix and NT.'

During a keynote speech at the trade show, however, Microsoft chairman Bill Gates presented a demonstration of a Unix app being converted to Windows 2000 and said, 'I love seeing those applications migrate like that.'

Windows Services for Unix 2.0 is available through the Microsoft Select and open licensing programs and from some online merchants. It will be available next month.


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