18 November 2002 Microsoft chairman and chief software architect Bill Gates has announced a new release date for the delayed server version of the Windows XP operating system.
Gates, delivering the opening keynote address at the Comdex trade show in Las Vegas, Nevada, revealed that Windows .Net Server will be released in April 2003. Coming features, he told an estimated 50,000 delegates, include support for systems with up to 64 processors and 512GB of memory; clustering of up to eight machines; and Intel chips that have ‘hyper-threading’ – a technology that enables microprocessors to run several processes at the same time on the same chip.
The company will also ship a new version of its Visual Studio.Net development tools at about the same time as the new server product.
Gates said the Windows-based system would bolster his company’s assault on high-end Unix systems and mainframes.
That pledge comes in the midst of a growing industry row over Unix’s cost, security and reliability. Last week, Michael Dell, CEO of Dell Computer, stepped up his attacks on the operating system, accusing proprietary versions of Unix of being expensive to buy and maintain and claiming that open-source alternatives were gaining ground.
“Linux is the new Unix,” he told delegates at Oracle’s user conference in San Francisco, California. “The days of proprietary Unix as the only platform capable of running mission-critical applications are rapidly ending.”
But another keynote speaker at Oracle’s show, John Gage, chief scientist of Sun Microsystems, stepped into the row, telling an audience consisting mainly of people from the intelligence community that it had been irresponsible of Dell to suggest that Linux or Windows-based servers were as reliable as proprietary Unix systems.
Said Gage: “Would somebody please tell Michael that Linux is Unix. He’s a wonderful guy, don’t get me wrong, but this is not a game. We have to compete together to build systems that are reliable.”
Sun’s version of Unix, Solaris, he said, remains the operating system of choice for running mission-critical applications.
Meanwhile, four Linux vendors collaborating on a common operating system will announce later this week at Comdex the availability of the first commercial release, UnitedLinux 1.0.
The vendors – SCO of the US, Conectiva of Brazil, SuSE Linux of Germany and Turbolinux of Japan – will each release separate products based on the core operating system, adding their own unique features to the common base.