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Informix debuts MMX tools

The database software company debuts tools to let developers build software targeted at Intel's MMX Pentium chips.

Informix (IFMX) and Intel (INTC) today announced a cooperative effort to make Informix's database software work with Intel's MMX multimedia chips.

The pact will result in some of the first high-end business applications to support Intel's MMX technology.

MMX builds basic multimedia processing capabilities directly into Pentium chips. For entry-level PCs, MMX should eliminate the need for expensive add-on graphics or communications cards. On more expensive PCs, it should enhance the performance of such multimedia hardware. Software vendors, however, must rewrite their applications to take advantage of those enhancements.

While games vendors rushed to support MMX, makers of business applications have been slower to embrace MMX. Adobe Systems, Macromedia, Netscape Communications, Microsoft, and some others have added MMX support to multimedia and Internet applications, but few makers of server software have followed their examples.

With Intel's Pentium II now about to bring MMX to workstations and servers, however, more enterprise software vendors can be expected to jump aboard the MMX bandwagon.

Informix said it will release a software developer's kit within 30 days that will let Informix DataBlades support Intel's Pentium II processors and Pentium processors with MMX technology. The tools are designed to let corporate developers create applications that take advantage of MMX. The two companies said the new tools will result in query and processing operations that perform up to eight times better for images and audio than standard applications.

DataBlades are Informix's name for plug-ins that add new capabilities to its flagship Universal Server database.

Informix also will release its first Universal Server for Intel chips and the Windows NT operating system, providing native support for MMX.

Another element of the cooperative pact is support for independent software vendors to create applications that use DataBlades for rich content such as video, 3D images, graphics, engineering documents, and spreadsheets.

Informix said it is working with third-party developers Virage, Vxtreme, Eastman Kodak, and Excalibur Technologies to produce MMX-optimized DataBlades.

The developers toolkit, priced at $150, contains tools to generate SQL and C code for DataBlade modules, tools to simplify deployment, sample DataBlade source code, and complete documentation.

Intel is an investor in CNET: The Computer Network.