U/WIN 1.61

Integrating Windows and UNIX

Global Technologies' U/WIN 1.61 is just the product for UNIX aficionados who want to leverage their existing source codes while tapping the Windows NT market. U/WIN is a software package that you install on top of your existing NT workstations and servers to build a complete UNIX environment. U/WIN comes in two packages: the base package and an optional, add-on software development kit (SDK).

The base package provides more than 200 POSIX shell commands and utilities you can use to manage your NT systems and to develop applications and scripts across platforms. These commands and programs let you perform a variety of functions, including file and directory manipulation and systems administration.

U/WIN's inetd-Windows service automatically installs during U/WIN setup. Under UNIX, the inetd daemon monitors TCP/IP connection requests from remote systems and launches the appropriate program after a client establishes a connection. Like UNIX systems, U/WIN servers use a configuration file to control the programs that start when the servers receive connection requests. Your system duplicates the configuration file /etc/inetd.conf, which Screen 1 shows. You edit the configuration file to control which services are available to remote users.

U/WIN's Telnetd daemon also installs automatically during setup. The Telnetd daemon is useful for developers and administrators. This service lets users connect to their NT server and run character-based applications as if the NT server were a UNIX server. This functioning feature is particularly helpful for remote administration. If you log on as an administrator, you can edit NT configuration files and application development files.

If you need additional functionality, you can install several optional software packages that Global Technologies includes with the base package. The software packages include the Sendmail mail transport, the Apache Web server, and a Domain Name System (DNS) daemon. Although each of these packages installs as part of the base install, you must modify the configuration file to run the optional packages. The U/WIN user manual helps you configure the software.

If you want to use U/WIN for cross-platform system development, you must install the add-on SDK. This add-on package includes a series of utilities, programs, and system libraries to help you construct applications for your U/WIN environment. The SDK requires Microsoft's Visual C++ (VC++) compiler—the package does not include a C compiler, and the Cc program is merely a shell script that launches the Visual C compiler from a command line.

To test U/WIN, I installed the package on my Micronics dual-Pentium II server running NT Server 4.0. The installation was smooth. I installed only the base software package—not the SDK—because the SDK requires you to have VC++ on your computer, which I did not. After running the setup program, U/WIN prompted me for the usual information—username, company name, serial number, and the hard disk I wanted to install U/WIN on.

By default, the software installs into a series of directories on your root directory, including the /tmp, /usr, and /var directory trees. Veteran UNIX users will instantly recognize these directory structures and the files within them; the /tmp directory tree contains temporary files, /usr contains system files, and /var contains work files and spool files. When you launch a Korn shell session, several other virtual directories are visible, including /bin, /dev, and /etc, which contain system commands, device files that the OS requires for compatibility, and system configuration files.

Shell scripts that you create on other UNIX systems require minor modifications to run under U/WIN. As part of my testing, I created several scripts on my SCO UNIX host and used File Transfer Protocol (FTP) to transfer them to my NT server. Then, I made a few changes to the scripts to get them to function correctly.

One problem that I encountered during testing was the program's lack of case sensitivity. Some U/WIN scripts could not differentiate between filenames that began with a capital X and filenames that began with a lowercase x.

You can try U/WIN before you commit to a purchase. Download a trial version of the software from Global Technologies' Web site.

U/WIN 1.61
Contact: Global Technologies * 609-722-0906
Web: http://www.gtlinc.com
Price: Starts at $249
System Requirements: Windows NT Server 4.0 or NT Workstation 4.0, Windows 98, or Win95, 130MB of hard disk space
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