BIZ/COMP: Alpha & Sparc news of interest to some on this list.

James Rogers (
Tue, 13 Jan 1998 11:34:44 -0800


I found a couple bits of computer news that may be of interest, especially
the free Unix crowd.

1) DEC will start shipping an Alpha that forces (in firmware) users to use NT.

"The expanded alliance (with Microsoft) coincides with Digital's plans
to ship by month's
end an Alpha processor with firmware that restricts it to running only NT
software, sources close to the company said. The chip is expected to
run NT applications faster than existing Alphas that support multiple
operating systems."

If all the low cost Alpha systems become exclusively available for NT, this
will seriously impede continued development of Linux for Alpha, and close
the door on a cheap, high-performance, non-Microsoft platform. This was
part of a much larger article on Wired, so I don't know if the normal cheap
Alphas will be phased out or not (I would hope not, but it may affect

2) Sun has a new line of PC-priced workstations that use Ultrasparc-IIi

To help stop the migration of the low-end workstation market from Unix to
NT, Sun is now offering a new line of cheap Ultrasparc-II workstations
running Solaris 2.6.

For example the new entry-level Ultra 5 workstation (Price: US$3895) includes:

270 MHz Ultrasparc-IIi
4Gb Hard Drive
17" Monitor
10/100Base-T Ethernet
66MHz PCI bus (sorry, no crossbar switch at this price)
etc. (even comes in a pizza box case)

There is limited BTO options when purchasing these systems.

At these prices Sun may actually find a new audience for their hardware.
Personally, I will most likely purchase on of these new machines. Means I
don't have to run Oracle Server on NT (until now the only low-cost Oracle
server platform). And I'll bet Linux for Sparc runs just fine on these new

-James Rogers