Dec 312017
Summaries of Lee Reiswig's and John Soyring's announcements from COMDEX describing IBM's "Workplace Family" operating systems.
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Summaries of Lee Reiswig’s and John Soyring’s announcements from COMDEX describing IBM’s “Workplace Family” operating systems.
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The Power of The Future

Personal Software Products

Today's presentation will introduce IBM's Personal Software Products
organization and will describe our product strategy for the future of
personal software. It will focus on the continuing evolution of our
current operating systems as well as on our vision for networking
and operating systems in the future.

Any discussion of the future of operating systems software must take
three factors into account: software and hardware innovation will
continue -- making change a way of life; continued, successful
innovation must protect existing investments; and operating
systems must integrate a broad range of platforms --
from $300 palmtops to $300,000 workstations.

IBM's Personal Software Products strategy is designed to deliver
what our customers want most:

o easy access to information -- anytime, anywhere;

o systems that will leverage their current investments in
hardware, applications, data and training; and

o solutions that will adapt easily to new technologies -
allowing customers to keep up with the pace of change.

Many vendors talk about similar visions for "anytime, anywhere"
computing -- the challenge is building the technology that can
actually deliver this vision. IBM's Personal Software Products
organization is introducing a series of technical innovations that
unite today's systems into a family that can evolve quickly into
the systems of the future.

The IBM Workplace family will initially encompass DOS, OS/2 and AIX.
The technology that unifies them will make the systems easy to connect
and manage, able to develop applications simply, and extremely easy to
use. The family will evolve -- eventually to include Taligent -- by
introducing these unifying technologies:

o a common desktop user interface, based on the OS/2 2.0
Workplace Shell that will allow users to move readily
between systems. This desktop has two additional benefits for
developers: It provides common services, such as filing and
printing, and it results in applications software that has a
consistent design, regardless of the system for which it is built.

o common components, such as databases, mail and communications,
that are implemented in identical ways and are available as
servers from any system. Common components make it simpler
to write applications that will run on multiple systems. The
most significant of these common components is the microkernel.
This microkernel will form the basis of the OS/2, AIX and
Taligent operating systems, and will make those systems
portable across multiple hardware platforms.

o powerful object technology from IBM and Taligent to introduce
software libraries that can be extended and combined easily
to build new applications from existing parts. Application
development will change from a model in which every applications
designed and constructed from scratch, to one where new designs
are adapted from standard patterns, or frameworks. Just like
common components, these software libraries will mask underlying
differences in the operating systems. Applications built using
them will be portable across the Workplace family.

o distributed object technology that makes it natural and simple
to build distributed, client/server applications. Applications
can be designed to span multiple machines and can be tuned to
match your particular network. This technology has been designed
to support emerging industry standards from the Object Management
Group (OMG). It also was designed in cooperation with leading
language and systems vendors. It will allow software in the
Workplace family to communicate simply with software in other
systems that support the OMG standard.

o personalities -- the unique characteristics of a particular system
-- can be hosted on other systems. This means that you can move
to a new operating system and carry forward the applications from
the old one. This feature will enable applications from
non-family systems like Windows and Macintosh to run on family
systems like OS/2 and AIX.

The IBM Workplace family operating systems of the future will provide
a framework that can innovate and evolve while protecting your
investment in hardware, applications and training. Future family
members will consist of a single microkernel that masks hardware
platform differences; server-like components providing common services,
such as file management and communications; extensible application
design frameworks; and personalities that host the small number of
unique characteristics necessary for an evolving, innovative
Another summary from John A. Soyring:

At COMDEX we told the world that we are developing a family of
operating systems: the Workplace family.

Workplace DOS will be targeted at entry-level machines whose hardware
is too small for OS/2. Workplace DOS is being developed to include a
GUI shell consistent (but subset) with the OS/2 WPS.

Workplace OS/2 will continue to be enhanced (smaller, faster and easier
to use) on Intel 32-bit platforms. Many exciting new features are
coming. The shrinkwrap will be updated with a new set of code and pubs
once testing completes in December. Manufacturing of the new
shrinkwrap should start in December and the channels will be filled
during early 1993.

Workplace OS is a multi-personality operating system based on the IBM
Microkernel. The IBM Microkernel is being derived from the Mach 3
Microkernel. The system allows one or multiple operating system
personalities (ie, OS/2, DOS, Windows 3.1, AIX, other) to run
seamlessly under a single (Workplace) GUI. We are starting to work
now with OEM (PC, device and component manufacturers) and ISV's in
small numbers. Beta code should be available during 1993. Last Thursday
marked the first public demonstration of this code running single
sessions (not yet seamless).

Workplace AIX is being enhanced in a consistent manner with other family

Much technology is being developed in common across the family.

John A. Soyring

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