|Interix, formerly known as OpenNT, is a set of software packages designed to bring UNIX functionality to NT. Interix Workstation and Interix Professional Software Development Kit (ProSDK) were examined. The Workstation version includes a wide variety of features focusing on client utilities such as the Korn, Bourne and C Shells, telnet and ftp clients and scripting tools such as awk, sed and perl. Also included is a copy of Hummingbird Communications Exceed X Windows X11R6 display server. If you already own a display server, a version called Workstation Lite is available without Exceed. |
The ProSDK features standard development tools and utilities such as the GNU C and C++ compilers, make, yacc and lex. Also included are libraries to develop applications with X11R5, OSF/Motif 1.2.4, OpenGL and ODBC. The documentation lists over 300 commands.
Installation of the packages was straightforward. Each was installed separately and the installation programs require you to log out and log back in before using the software. For some reason, I couldn't log in after installing the ProSDK and had to shutdown and restart. Everything functioned properly after the shutdown. The Workstation installation used 90MB of disk space, the ProSDK used 186MB. Hummingbird Exceed used 65MB, bringing the total to 341MB. N.B.: Disk usage is for Intel code. An Alpha CPU version is available.
All the standard GNU libraries are available. Also provided are curses, termcap and standard lex and yacc libraries. The make is based on BSD make 4.4 and works as expected. Compilations are quick. The executable programs created run comparably to Linux running on a similar Intel CPU. Debugging is provided by the GNU debugger gdb. It works well, supporting just about everything you need such as breakpoints, stepping, listing and backtracing. Complete documentation is provided in Adobe Acrobat PDF files instead of Windows help files.
The Interix subsystem is a POSIX 1 subsystem running on NT. Consequently, porting code to run in this subsystem usually means making the code more portable by implementing POSIX features. The problem with this methodology is that most applications are not really POSIX compliant. If the applications run in NT's POSIX subsystem, they run in a separate virtual machine and may be hard to truly integrate with Win32 applications. On the other hand, making the effort to make code POSIX-compliant may allow it to be moved to other POSIX-compliant versions of UNIX, like HP-UX, more easily.
Interix supports NT 3.51 or NT 4.0 with Service Pack 3, the recommended platform. Interix 2.2: Interix Workstation (including Hummingbird Exceed) $579; Interix Workstation Lite (without Exceed) $299; Interix Software Development Kit: $299; Professional Software Development Kit: $1,999.
Editor's Note: Softway Systems, Inc. has announced that Interix is the first product to achieve UNIX branding on Windows NT. The certification by The Open Group, owners of the UNIX trademark, means that Interix 2.2 is a fully compliant UNIX product. For more information go to www.opengroup.org.
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