Industry Watch

Netscape unbundles Navigator

Netscape Communications Corp. last week unveiled the unbundled stand-alone Netscape Navigator 4.0 software which features Netscape's Netcaster push technology.

Navigator the browser component of Netscape's Communicator client package will offer traditional browsing functionality as well as new server-based e-mail and calendaring capabilities. With Netcaster Navigator users also can receive information being pushed out over the Internet.

With last year's introduction of Communicator its high-end client-based software suite that includes Navigator the company had planned to discontinue offering the stand-alone browser. Now the company has changed its strategy in an attempt to garner market share from a broader set of users - from beginners to large-enterprise users.

The company also announced new licensing and distribution agreements for the unbundled Navigator with many of the industry's original equipment manufacturers including Digital Equipment Corp. IBM Corp. Hewlett Packard Co. Novell Inc. Silicon Graphics Inc. Sun Microsytems Inc. and others.

Compaq cuts portable prices

Compaq Computer Corp. last week reduced prices by as much as 16 percent on its Armada 7700 portable computers.

The Armada 7710MT is now available on the General Services Administration schedule for $3 571 about a 16 percent decrease. That includes a 150 MHz Pentium processor with MMX technology 16M of memory a 12.1-inch monitor with 800 by 600 resolution a 1.66G hard drive and a 33.6 kilobits/sec modem.

GSA pricing for the 7730MT which boosts performance with a 166 MHz MMX processor 32M of memory and a 2.1G hard drive dropped 12 percent to $4 247. Model 7750MT which comes with a 12.1-inch 1 024 by 768 resolution monitor now costs $4 826 on the GSA schedule a 14 percent drop.

SCO users must wait for Oracle8

Users of The Santa Cruz Operation (SCO) Inc.'s operating systems who want to upgrade to the latest version of the Oracle database will have to upgrade their server operating system as well an Oracle Corp. official said last week at the SCO Forum conference.

Although the previous Oracle database Oracle7 runs on SCO's shipping OpenServer and UnixWare platforms Oracle8 will run only on SCO's upcoming Gemini release said Thomas Hildebrand vice president of Oracle's Intel Product Division Redwood Shores Calif.

"That seemed like the logical way to do it " Hildebrand said. The decision was made after consultation with customers he said. Oracle8 will be available on Gemini this fall when Gemini goes into its first customer shipments cycle.The database which shipped in June features object-relational support in which new data types such as multimedia and geospatial data can be managed by the database. Other new enhancements include improved data warehousing and partitioning support.

Gemini combines features of OpenServer and UnixWare as well as adding 64-bit computing support high availability four-way clustering and other new functions. The OS is based on Unix System V Release V code. SCO said migration to Gemini will be gradual especially for OpenServer users.

Unisys signs pact with SMAC

Unisys Federal Systems earlier this month announced it will provide support services to customers of PC manufacturer SMAC Data Systems Gaithersburg Md. Under the agreement Unisys Global Customer Services will support SMAC computers supplied to the federal government Unisys said. The support services are on the GSA schedule and can be obtained through SMAC.

SMAC computers are available on the GSA schedule the National Institutes of Health's Electronic Computer Store and through the Navy's Information Technology for the 21st Century blanket purchase agreement.

TASC awarded GSA sked pact

Systems integrator TASC Inc. last week announced it had been awarded a GSA schedule contract for information technology solutions and services. TASC already holds a services contract under GSA's Total Quality Management schedule earning more than $30 million of business in three years the company said.

Orbital gets NASA services pact

NASA's Ames Research Center last week awarded the $31 million Scientific Engineering and Technical Services (SETS) contract to Orbital Sciences Corp.The contract requires a wide variety of services including systems engineering and analysis scientific research and analysis laboratory scientific and technology research infrared detector technology development and educational outreach.

The one-year cost-plus-incentive contract is a consolidation of three current contracts held by TMA Norcal TransBay Electronics Inc. and Johnson Controls. Information technology-related tasks for the contract include the operation of a computer laboratory for specialized types of data analysis such as image processing.

It also covers such standard applications as spreadsheet analysis and word processing for the Ames Earth Science Division and systems engineering and integration for the center's Space Projects Division.

DOE lab makes computing first

The Energy Department's National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC) met a decade-long goal last week by successfully stopping and starting a massively parallel supercomputer a T3E from Cray Research Inc. without losing any data. Such a capability will make it easier to maintain the system and to distribute the processing workload of multiple applications NERSC officials said.

The procedure called "checkpointing " has been available on Cray's older vector supercomputing systems for many years but was more difficult to perform on massively parallel systems. Steve Reinhardt project director with Cray said this capability broadens the range of applications for which the systems might be used.

- Compiled by John Stein Monroe Heather Harreld and IDG News Service.

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