IBM has slammed rival vendors for lacking commitment to the future of Unix, and laid out its own plans for the operating system.
Mike Borman, worldwide general manager of IBM RS/6000, in an exclusive interview with PC Week, insisted that a simple comparison between the vendor's microprocessor roadmap and that of its main adversaries would persuade a potential customer to go with RS/6000 and AIX.
IBM's commitment to both RS/6000 and AIX has been the subject of much scrutiny this year, following the consolidation of the three server platforms into a single division with joint sales and marketing and a considerable cross-fertilisation of components.
Borman denied that the future of RS/6000 or AIX on RS/6000 were in jeopardy.
There were no plans to de-couple AIX from RS/6000, he said, though he could not rule out the possibility that it would never happen.
"The opportunity is still so great for Unix and I think we are still the most committed to Unix - some of our competitors are hedging their bets," Borman said.
He claimed that the processor roadmaps of Silicon Graphics, Digital, Hewlett-Packard and Sun did not offer users the same confidence in future stability and performance.
The future of RS/6000 hangs on the success of the Power 3 chip - the successor to the Power PC chip. "It's up and running in the labs - we'll be announcing it later this year," Borman said.
HP, which has bet its Unix and NT strategy on the belated Merced chip, was unconcerned by IBM's posturing. "IBM is notoriously bad at bringing technology out on time," said Terry Walden, marketing manager for HP-UX and associated products.
He questioned the rationale of not following the pack on an Intel path.
Development and fabrication of a chip is extremely expensive, he argued.
Economies of scale had led to HP and other vendors turning to Intel. The output of Power PC chips is only 10% of Intel's output, he claimed.
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