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Oracle commits to Monterey OS

Oracle announces its support of the upcoming Monterey operating system, a joint program by IBM and Santa Cruz Operation to create a version of Unix for Intel's upcoming 64-bit processors.

Oracle announced its support of the upcoming Monterey operating system, a joint program by IBM and Santa Cruz Operation to create a version of Unix for Intel's upcoming 64-bit processors.

While analysts expected Oracle ultimately to support Monterey, the database software maker hadn't committed until today.

"People have been waiting for Oracle to endorse, support, or do anything with Monterey," said a Santa Cruz Operation spokesperson, noting that negotiations can take a long time. "We're certainly very happy about it."

Monterey is a project to combine three versions of Unix--IBM's AIX, Sequent's Dynix/ptx, and SCO's UnixWare--into a single version that will run both on IBM's Power chips and on Intel's 64-bit chips. Intel is scheduled to release the first of those "IA-64" chips, called Itanium and formerly code-named Merced, in mid-2000 with computers using it later that year.

"We're interested in consolidating Unix so our customers and [software companies] can spend their time working on their software instead of porting to different flavors of Unix," said Oracle's Mike Rocha in a news conference today.

Signing up major software companies is critical to establishing the success of a new operating system and a new chip architecture, and database companies in particular are a necessary ingredient given Intel's e-commerce push for these new chips. Other software companies committed to Monterey include Netscape Communications, PeopleSoft, Baan, Tivoli, BEA Systems, Marcam Solutions, Informix, Computer Associates, and BMC.

Other versions of Unix for the IA-64 will include Sun Microsystems' Solaris and Hewlett-Packard's HP-UX. In addition, Linux, a close relative of Unix, will be available.

Other computer makers are taking different approaches. SGI chose to adopt Linux instead of porting its Irix version of Unix, and Compaq Computer reversed its commitment to provide its Tru64 Unix on IA-64. Monterey-64 is up and running on Itanium prototypes.

Oracle will contribute some of its own software to Monterey and AIX. It will help add its Oracle Internet Directory, software that makes it easier for companies with large numbers of computers to find network resources such as printers and keep track of details such as the Internet addresses of different servers.

Oracle announced earlier this year Oracle Internet Directory, which will be integrated into Oracle 8i and be an alternative to Microsoft's Active Directory technology.

Oracle Internet Directory will be part of the company's Oracle 8i database, a move that analysts say further strengthens the company's goal of providing an all-in-one Internet deployment platform and an alternative to Microsoft's Windows NT and other server-based software. The company will integrate it with the Novell Directory Services (NDS), a popular directory technology, to make sure they can work together.

The Oracle Internet Directory joins other new features the company is including in the database, such as built-in development tools and an internal file system for storing and managing Web pages as well as Windows application files.

Oracle 8i also will be available on several other versions of Unix, including Solaris, HP-UX, Tru64 Unix, and Linux, but the company hopes for some consolidation in the Unix area, Rocha said.

News.com's Mike Ricciuti contributed to this report.