An independent study released last week ranks IBM's AIX operating system ahead of its four biggest Unix competitors.
The study, published by DH Brown Associates, rated five major commercial operating systems: IBM's AIX 4.3.3, Compaq's Tru64 UNIX 5.0, Hewlett-Packard's HP-UX 11.0, Sun Microsystems' Solaris 7 and Silicon Graphics' Irix 6.5.
IBM and Compaq "seem to be leading the pack in Unix", said Bill Moran, research director at DH Brown. Finishing out the ranking were HP, Sun and SGI.
One of the study's major findings was that Sun Solaris 7 fared poorly in internet and web functionality, "a surprising position for a pioneering internet company", the report said.
A Sun spokesman criticised the report's findings, saying the researchers hadn't included the latest version of Solaris in their study. "There are a tremendous number of people who are using Solaris 8 to do their heavy lifting on the web," said Sun spokesman Russ Castronovo.
Solaris 8 wasn't included because it wasn't commercially available at the time of the study, according to Moran at DH Brown. Sun began shipping its new version of Solaris two weeks ago.
IBM officials said the study validated their efforts. "We've focused on (making) AIX the most robust Unix system in the marketplace," said Miles Barel, IBM's program director for Unix marketing.
The study evaluated each operating system on the basis of the following criteria: scalability, reliability, availability and serviceability; system management tools; internet and web application services; and directory and security services.
The report is part of an ongoing study of Unix operating systems, Moran said. DH Brown plans to cover Solaris 8 and Windows 2000 over the next three to four months, he said.