Microsoft to Combine Its Unix Products

Microsoft Corp. will combine its two Unix interoperability tools, Services for Unix and Microsoft Interix, into a single offering called Services for Unix 3.0 in the second quarter of this year, Microsoft officials say.

The move follows through on a promise Microsoft made to combine the two products shortly after Microsoft acquired Interix along with all the other assets of Softway Systems Inc. in September 1999.

Version 3.0 of Services for Unix is the first evidence of activity on Microsoft's Unix interoperability front since May of 2000 when Services for Unix (SFU) 2.0 launched.

Microsoft launched Microsoft Interix 2.2 a few months earlier in February 2000, around the Windows 2000 launch, and hasn't updated the product since. Microsoft Interix 2.2 was a rebranding of Softway Systems Interix 2.2 with support added in the Microsoft version for Windows 2000. In July 2000, Microsoft delivered a service pack for Softway Interix 2.2 customers that added Windows 2000 support for that version.

SFU 2.0 offers interoperability for shops that have a mixed set of Windows and Unix servers. It’s designed to integrate Windows 2000 into existing Unix-based networks. SFU offers telnet client and server software, bi-directional automatic name mapping for unified logins and password synchronization. It also includes client and server NFS software to simplify sharing resources between Windows and Unix systems. With SFU, users can continue to use Unix-based systems from their Windows desktops.

Microsoft Interix 2.2 is the Microsoft-sanctioned approach for enterprises looking to migrate existing Unix applications to the Windows platform. Interix is a replacement for the Posix subsystem in Windows that offers substantially more functionality than Posix. It includes support for X11 clients and servers available from third-party vendors, Korn and C shells, over 300 utilities including such familiar names as awk, sed, and perl, and compilers including gcc and g++. Using Interix, developers can move existing applications and scripts directly to the Windows platform, and from there start taking advantage of other Windows facilities (such as Active Directory) that aren’t present in Unix.

For example, Microsoft’s HotMail service made use of Interix to preserve an existing investment in complex scripts as they migrated servers from the BSD platform to Windows.

Microsoft views these two products as an essential part of providing services to enterprise clients, Microsoft officials say.

The company continues to invest resources in standards-based interoperability and plans an increased push to supply consulting and reference solutions for customers and partners who are committed to integrating the Windows and Unix platforms, company officials say.

More information on Microsoft's Unix integration products is available here:

  • Services for Unix:
  • Microsoft Interix:

    Microsoft has sign-up form at the SFU site for a 120-day, pre-release evaluation edition of SFU 3.0.

  • About the Author

    Mike Gunderloy, MCSE, MCSD, MCDBA, is a former MCP columnist and the author of numerous development books.


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