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New Head of Software and Development
The groups responsible for software and development within Central Computing Division have been combined under a common head with effect from 1 July 1986. Trevor Daniels has been appointed as the new Head of Software and Development and is now in post in the Atlas Centre.
Trevor was previously Head of Systems and Operations at the Daresbury Laboratory, responsible for the central computing service there. He was also involved in establishing data acquisition systems for nuclear physics experiments and in setting up and operating the Daresbury Cray service.
The groups reporting to him include the Information Management Group, responsible for Office Automation, Decision Support Systems and Scientific Databases; the Development Group, responsible for developments in Communications and PCs; and the Systems Group, responsible for the operating systems and supporting software on the central computers and supported minicomputers. His responsibilities also include graphics and the technical support of the Cray X-MP.
Brian Davies, Division Head, Central Computing Division
Common Base Announcement
On 1 August, ICL announced their intention to discontinue development of the PERQ product and to sell OEM workstations from Sun Microsystems Inc.
It will be possible to obtain maintenance for 7 years after purchase, although of course SERC only pays for this for the lifetime of the grant. ICL are less definite regarding software support and bug fixes and what they have said so far on this subject is not adequate. We intend to make every effort to ensure continued support and bug fixes.
PERQ2s will continue in the Common Base Programme as supported machines for sufficient time to support current grants (therefore probably 3 years) and Common Base software development will continue.
A Common Base meeting of PERQ and SUN users jointly will be held in October and it is hoped more details will be available then.
There is, naturally, disappointment that the PERQ line of development is coming to an end in the UK. Some 200 PERQs were purchased by SERC and many people have put much time and effort into the PERQ. However the Common Base Programme has always been concerned with reusable and portable software and recent events emphasise the wisdom of this. In addition, the fact that ICL have switched to a computer that is already in the Common Base, can be used to advantage and we intend to do what we can to continue to improve Common Base software and support for SUN and PERQ users.