Not ready for prime time software

Not ready for prime time software

Last week, Sun Microsystems' SunSoft division officials said results of a recent Java benchmark test of its Solaris 2.6 just-in-time compiler were part of an internal engineering prototype that should not have been made public. Sun marketing officials last month announced that the CaffeineMark 3.0 Java benchmark test by Pendragon Software showed that Solaris 2.6 ran Java applications 50 per cent faster than Windows NT. Sun later acknowledged that engineers had rigged the compiler to look for a specific chunk of code in the benchmark software, artificially enhancing test results.

Apple Computer is working with Oracle to build a network computer (NC) that will be released by the end of the first quarter of 1998, said Larry Ellison, chairman and CEO of Oracle. "There will be a Mac NC in the sub-$US1000 range," Ellison said. Apple's NC, expected to be a stripped-down version of the Apple Macintosh, will be released in March, but Ellison declined to elaborate further. He also said Apple's future lies with the development of its Macintosh operating system, not with Rhapsody, the operating system Apple developed from Next OS, which was derived from its acquisition last year of Next Software. In addition, Ellison said Oracle is developing its own implementation of Java for its database software. "Oracle 8.1 will have Java built into it that doesn't contain a single line of Sun code," he said, but declined to discuss details.

Last week was a busy week for Cisco Systems, First, the company announced that aerospace giant Boeing had purchased $US124 million worth of Cisco routers and switches for what Boeing called "one of the largest LAN switching networks in the world".

Then the company unveiled a new $US15,000 Versatile Interface Processor (VIP) module for its 7500 router that boosts switching performance by 50 per cent over previous VIPs. Cisco also had to quash the rumours being spread by Extreme Networks that the forthcoming "Milan" Gigabit Ethernet switch would be called the Catalyst 10000. "I've never heard of the Catalyst 10000," a Cisco spokeswoman said. "It's not in our numbering scheme."

The IEEE 802.3z committee last week met in Montreal to discuss, among other topics, the multimode fibre distance problem. It turns out they will tweak the 802.3z standard in order to "blank out" the differential delay condition that has been limiting Gigabit Ethernet to 100 metres over multimode, said Brian Macleod, director of marketing at Packet Engines. Manufacturers of laser transceivers then can test their products against this specification to achieve 802.3z compliance, which mandates that Gigabit Ethernet should be able to reach at least 260 metres over multimode fibre.

Look for big changes in a week at Madge Networks as the company plans to announce the return of the name LANNET to its Ethernet products division. It then plans to spin it off as a subsidiary, sources said.

Madge acquired Tel Aviv-based LANNET in 1995 for approximately $US300 million in stock. LANNET brought Ethernet switches to Madge, which produces stackable hubs, adapter cards, token-ring switches and desktop ATM equipment. Madge is also readying a new family of high-speed switches.

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