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SPARCstation Portable? The Powerlite

For people on the go, portable computing has become an essential part of the working environment. Many of us face the need for computing power at off-site locations. For most, a conventional Intel-based laptop computer fills the bill. For some UNIX users, however, such systems are at best a compromise, even when augmented by ports of familiar UNIX utilities. For some people, a non-UNIX, Intel-based solution is no solution at all. These users may need a Solaris-running, SPARC-based workstation they can carry with them for development, system administration, or product demonstrations. This is the audience for whom RDI Computer Corp.’s PowerLite portable workstation was developed. RDI positions the system as the performance equivalent of a SPARCstation 5. How close does this 110MHz, seven-pound system come to a real workstation, and is it worth the weight?


As with any portable computer, the PowerLite is essentially self contained. The screen, keyboard, and trackball are all part of the system unit, and the Solaris operating system is pre-installed at the RDI factory. Thus, basic installation is reduced to an inventory of parts, plugging in the power adapter, and powering up the system. Depending on the options that have been ordered, installation can be somewhat more complex, but not by much.

NT Never Killed Off Unix

Despite predictions that NT’s rise would ensure Unix’s demise, last year showed that co-existence is the more likely near-term fate for both operating systems. “I do not foresee Unix going by the wayside. NT doesn’t have the robustness,” said Susan Whitney, general manager of worldwide systems sales, IBM, Armonk, N.Y.

Unix vendors, most notably Sun Microsystems Inc., responded to NT’s popularity with lower-cost servers that competed with Intel-based systems directly and with multiprocessing products whose performance was out of the range of NT’s growing market share.

“It’s a broad-based approach from being down in the low end all the way up to machines that the PC world can’t even conceive of yet,” said Anil Gadre, vice president of corporate marketing for Sun, Mountain View, Calif.

There were winners and losers on both the NT and Unix sides of the midrange server market, defined as servers with two to 30 processors.

Tandem Computers Inc., Cupertino, Calif., which in 1997 tied its fate more tightly to NT, made the most impressive leap in sales, growing 1,800 percent to $304 million, excluding its host-based systems.

Unix servers remain strong.

Not all vendors fared so well under the NT banner. Compaq Computer Corp., Houston, appreciated Tandem’s feat enough to buy the company in …

Unix/Java And Microsoft/Intel Make Friends

The sense of head-spinning change that you get as an IS manager is an offshoot of a fairly simple phenomenon: the restoration of competition in the computer industry. Two centers of vitality are vying for leadership in advancing the state of the art.

One is the Microsoft/Intel camp and its large following of third-party developers. During the past 10 years, this group has toppled many cherished precepts and emerged as the dominant source of innovation.

The other is the Unix community (more precisely, the Unix/Java community), led by Sun, Oracle and Netscape. This camp is closer to the Internet. In the past year, it generated its own army of third-party followers, partly because of a generous infusion of venture capital. The Unix/Java camp now is challenging the PC leaders with its own rapid innovation.

My confidence of renewed competition isn’t because the Unix/Java camp has united behind Unix or because it threatens to displace Microsoft at the desktop. Neither statement is true. But it is true that Unix advocates have assimilated the lessons of the PC revolution and are putting them to use.

For example, the Unix/Java crew has finally learned that appropriate technology available today is more important than the best technology promised for the future. Software is

The Logical Volume Manager With Unix Hard Drives

When I first started managing UNIX systems, I underestimated the amount of time I would spend managing disk space. Traditional UNIX operating systems let you divide disks into 8 or 16 partitions (also called slices). When a slice becomes full, you must either move data to another slice or repartition the disk to make that slice larger. Repartitioning is time-consuming because you must back up the disk, repartition it by modifying the disk label, and restore data as necessary.

A typical UNIX disk analyzer.

Logical-volume technology provides the ability to reserve disk space that can be added to slices as needed. You can increase the size of a slice on the fly without losing data or experiencing significant downtime.

Overview Of Logical Volumes

The examples shown are for an HP-UX 10.20 system. The concepts also apply to other systems, such as AIX, that support logical volumes.

A disk can be divided into logical volumes (analogous to physical partitions). However, a logical volume can span more than one physical disk. Logical volumes are grouped into logical volume groups. Logical volumes cannot span more than one logical volume group.

The first step to using logical volumes is to create a volume group. Next, disks are added to the logical volume group

How to Select A Laptop Hard Drive Recovery Service

When your laptop hard drive crashes and you lose your most important files, you may have to get the help of an external party to get all of that data back. If you are unaware of the hardware operating system on your laptop, it is advisable to not to attempt to recover your data, as it will further damage your laptop hard drive and may professional recovery that much harder. In such a situation, selecting the best laptop hard drive recovery service provider is a question you need to answer.

The security of your data is the key factor you have to think of. That depends on the extent of the confidentiality of the data stored in your laptop. The more the security that is needed for your data; the more you need to look into your provider’s focus on security. Look over the track records of the laptop hard drive recovery service providers nearby your area. The other factor you may want to think about is the professionalism of the technical staff of the company. Are they technically qualified to do the data recovery job? If you ignore these points, you may lose your data and you will not be able to get your files recovered at all.

Losing …

The Grudge Match – NT vs. Unix

Anyone who regularly reads this column knows l have spent much of the past year calling on the UNIX community to pay serious attention to desktop UNIX. Not only have lexhorted vendors to develop small, friendly, shrink-wrapped versions of UNIX, but I have discussed at length the market effects on companies such as Santa Cruz Operation (SCO), if UNIX does or does not meet the challenge.

The good news is that UNIX vendors have perceived the same need ldid and have understood that the desktop UNIX must look and feel a whole lot different than its predecessors. USL and Univel have made surprisingly giant strides in this direction. SCO, in its own way, has continued to improve its high-end product, ODT. What Sun is doing, other than standardizing on SVR4, is open to conjecture, but the Solaris’s portability to Intel systems shows an appreciation of this platform.

For 1992, UNIX’s understanding of the strategic importance of the desktop rates very good. The next question is: Can UNIX market its wares?

The marketing arena is critical. Here, the main opponent is Microsoft and its vast marketing resources. For example, the recent UNIX Expo in New York had more vendors and more attendees than ever. The mood was by and large

Once, There Was Windows NT

As NT boldly goes where only Unix went before, hopes are high for a distributed computing environment that will work happily with existing PC hardware and software. But can NT really supplant Unix, with its 25 years of proven network reliability?

Until now, serious networked applications users have turned to Unix to find tools capable of doing the job. Unix may still not have found favour on the desktop, but it was designed to be both multitasking and multi-user — making it great for the network, despite problems getting Unix and PCs to co-operate.

This paradigm is now under threat. The growth of Microsoft Windows, along with the company’s promise to deliver the 32-bit NT operating system, has raised users’ hopes that a genuine alternative to Unix is close at hand — with backward PC software compatibility.

Yet Microsoft will be at least four months late with NT. The product is a lynchpin of the company’s future success and its push into higher computing. Even taking into account the announced delay, NT has been under development for some time. Bill Gates, Microsoft’s CEO, recently revealed that the NT project actually started before IBM and Microsoft began joint work on OS/2. As one analyst said in a recent issue of PC