Old standards, new standards

EXE Magazine, April 1996

Do you remember 3270 emulation? Do you remember dumb terminals? Do you remember the time when all software was written by a central computer department? And more recently do you remember GeoWorks' Geos?

It's amazing how often one can hear all these terms at press conferences these days. And they are not evoked with nostalgia but as the way forward. Recently Sun presented to a happy few its future Java machines: a ‘cheap’ Java-ready computer. The biggest market targeted by Sun for the first iteration of these computers is as a replacement for 3270 terminals! Have you seen the sales argument for any Web-based product? More often than not, it just looks like a vaguely updated brochure for an IBM mainframe: thin client (read dumb terminal), computing happens centrally on the Web server (read mainframe)... And Geos, once touted as a Windows alternative, IBM even considered it as a ‘Presentation Manager Lite’, is making a big comeback in PDAs. The latest Nokia communicator, an exciting mix between a phone and a palmtop planned for August, features Geos with newly developed software such as... a Web browser.

Doesn't anyone have any new ideas?

David Mery

(C)1996, Centaur Communications Ltd. Reproduced with the kind permission of EXE Magazine.