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VNU Net: Lucent's Inferno warms to open source model

Jun 21, 2000, 22:14 (2 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by John Geralds)

By John Geralds, VNU Net

Network operating systems software vendor Vita Nuova aims to promote Lucent's Inferno operating system as open source software.

Inferno was originally developed by Lucent in 1997 for network devices and internet appliances, and was intended to be pitched against Java.

Lucent currently uses Inferno in its Softswitch and Pathstar Access Server products, but Vita Nuova, which now has exclusive global rights to the operating system, plans to incorporate it into consumer applications.

Vita Nuova is also making Inferno available under a subscription-based licence similar to that used by open source software vendors. A yearly subscription costs $300 (£198) and includes the source code to Inferno, ports to a range of architectures, Inferno manual and papers, a C cross compiler and access to updates. Academic subscriptions are available at $150 and corporate subscriptions start at $1000.

Tom Uhlman, president of Lucent's new venture group, said the combination of Linux's rapid rise, the possible breakup of Microsoft and the introduction of pervasive computing has made the market more receptive to products such as Inferno.

Michael Jeffrey, co-founder and chief executive officer of Vita Nuova, said: "Inferno provides a simple, complete and scalable design across a wide range of hardware and can be implemented in as little as a few hundred bytes.

"We have exclusive global rights and life has never been better."

The technology will be of interest to academia, large companies and device manufacturers, added Jeffrey.

The idea behind Inferno was originally conceived four years ago by Dennis Ritchie, co-inventor of the Unix system and creator of the C programming language. Bell Labs' Lucent research arm will continue to support Inferno under a joint development agreement with Vita Nuova.

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