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…