Publisher Arnoldo Mondadori – Mondadori’s Company Archive
Magazine….Pc Week
Publication Date…. 02/11/1988
Publication Number ….0004
Page Number ….0011
Summary …. Digital and Apple join forces to develop a network environment oriented to the common Osi standards and to be based on X-Windows
Author ….Roberto Mazzoni
Topics…. Computer
Type…. Analysis
Location….USA North America Area-Nato
Subjects…. Digital Bodies equipment, Apple
Creation Date…. 04/12/1988




California Project Agreement for the development of network that is in line with the Osi standard

Main Article Text

Digital Equipment, exited out of the market for single-user personal computer after the fiasco with Rainbow now returns with a new force into the micro information world taking advantage of the growing interest for local area networks and systems integration. In recent months, we have witnessed a series of ads for both hardware and software proposals aimed at facilitating the ability to connect between the DecNet environment with the Ms Dos system. The flurry of presentations culminated with the announcement of an agreement reached by Apple and Digital for the development of a common network operating environment, capable of integrating the Vax system in the function of a server and personal Macintosh as a workstation. This cooperative plan, which carries the code name Project California, provides for the publication of, by next August, of the specifications that programmers must observe in developing applications intended to run on this new mixed Dec-Apple environment. In particular, there will be programming interfaces published with the network software specifications, as well as the characteristics of the protocols, to be used for establishing connections between DecNet and AppleTalk. DECwindows, a version of XWindows adapted for Dec systems, will serve as a common interface for communication applications, and it is expected that, in the long run, Apple will transform its range of local networks to align itself with Ethernet standards. Currently there already exists several manufacturers that offer systems more or less effective that can connect the Apple and Digital worlds, yet each of them follows a different approach, thus making a variety of products incompatible. Project California has the primary purpose of bring order to this area, by giving the third parties precise standard references oriented towards recommendations by Iso. Digital has taken a road of total openness also in regard to Ms Dos systems, as was evidenced by the recent announcement of the Network Application Support program extension. The new draft of the Nsa embraces the integration of the operational mini Vax,using the operative VMS Unix (Ultrix),which is governed by the personal operating system Finder (Apple Macintosh), Ms Dos and Os 2. The overall strategy is to define local networks, in which the server function is entrusted to machines of the Vax Server type 3500 and 3600. The Vax will act as a computer engine, or will take upon itself the increased elaborate workload that until now resides in the single user personal computer. In this case, a workstation connected to the network will benefit, not only from better departmental systems integration, but also with greater computing power than that it is supposed to have. Of course, it will take months and perhaps years before this cohesion process will reach completion. It is not yet clear, for example, how Digital intends to solve the conversation problems with the Os 2 systems, nor whether it can quantify what will be the actual impact on the Italian market of the Apple-Dec union.

At the moment, in fact, there are only a dozen large national companies who use link emulation in the Mac to connect with Digital machines.

Let’s take a quick overview of products that already exist to connect Apple and Vax. The first of these is the Ethernet II, produced by Kinetics, allowing you to connect your Macintosh to networks using the AppleTalk protocol, DecNet and TCP Ip. It will be available by next spring. The card is combined with TSSnet software, developed by Thursby Software Systems, a Texas company (Arlington). TSSnet allows you to manage the protocols simultaneously of AppleTalk and DecNet while providing functions for file transfer and electronic e-mail. Following are the VMacS and Reggie packages, both developed by White Pine Software and distributed in Italy by C.H. Ostfeld (via Lamarmora 6, 20122 Milan, tel.02 5459682). VMacS allows you to manage files on Mac disks and tapes on a Vax while Reggie performs a format conversion for graphic products working in the two environments. MacNow deserves a brief mention; it is a program of the software house Telos from California (3420 Ocean Park Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90405, tel. 213-4502424)which serves to tie Mac with the office automation environment All-in-1, and Halix, the database running on the Mac, which uses the Vax as server disk. This was created by a company called Odesta(4084 Commercial Ave, Northbrook, IL 60062, tel. 312 -4,985,615). Finally we will mention the products coming out of the List of Pisa, which is partially controlled by Apple Italy, and has developed MacNix and MacEasy software that integrates the Mac, respectively, with the world of Unix and VMS.


Roberto Mazzoni