From: [email protected]
Date: Wed, 27 Apr 1994 16:53:50 -0600 (CDT)
Novell Brewing a New 32-Bit GUI Environment (PC Week)
>From PC Week for April 25, 1994 by PC Week Staff
Novell Inc. is developing a low-cost, 32-bit multitasking operating
environment based on a "freeware" version of Unix that sources said will
run Windows, DOS, NetWare, and Unix applications.
Novell is expected to demonstrate the software -- which it is developing
under tight security at an off-site warehouse -- to a few select users
at next week's NetWorld+Interop trade show, said sources close to the
Provo, Utah, company.
The new system, code-named Expose, is not a derivative of Novell's own
UnixWare; it is based on Linux, a full-featured Unix clone for PCs that
is distributed under a free GNU Public License, sources said. Linux 1.0,
which shipped in March, runs on 386- and 486-based ISA and EISA
Expose will be based on a graphical X Window System environment called
Looking Glass, which Novell licensed from Visix Software Inc., of
Reston, Va. It is expected to use an advanced 3-D desktop metaphor to
allow users to easily navigate through it, sources said.
Expose "is not as much an applications environment as it is a front end
to many environments, [including] NetWare, Unix, and Windows
applications," said a source who has been briefed on the project. Users
also will be able to run Expose as a front end to the Internet, possibly
through the Mosaic GUI, sources said.
However, one source said development is in the early stages, and given
Novell's track record, the project could be abandoned if it does not
show strong promise.
Another source said Novell has already demonstrated Microsoft Corp.'s
Office suite of Windows applications running on Expose. The source
claimed the applications were running without a Windows emulator, even
though Linux does not fully support Windows applications.
Novell's goal, sources said, is to quickly bring to market a graphical
operating environment that would give PC users a lower-cost alternative
to Windows. The environment would likely be priced below UnixWare's $249
price and possibly even lower than the $149.95 retail price asked for
"Ray [Noorda] would give it away if he could," said a source
knowledgeable about the project.
The GNU license allows developers to use and modify the Linux code and
sell it for any price the market will bear -- with the caveat that they
must also distribute the Linux source code with their derivative
Some corporate NetWare users questioned the sagacity of Novell
developing yet another graphical 32-bit operating system. "I'd hate to
see them spend a whole lot of research resources on one more operating
system," said Jim Queen, director of enterprise networking for Enron
Corp., a Houston-based energy company with a large NetWare network. "If
they have a vision for this thing, they'd better share it."
Another IS manager said he is still trying to get his company's current
set of desktop operating systems to work together on a LAN. But although
he doesn't want to deal with yet another contender, "I'll keep an open
mind," said Lee Roth, LAN manager for Dallas-based Southwest Airlines
Co. "If [Expose] gives me some new functionality, I'll consider it."