Magazine article Editor & Publisher

SII Ports Coyote to OS/2: System Vendor Rounds out Standard-Platform Product Line with New Coyotes Going into Washington Post and Daily Oklahoman

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

SII Ports Coyote to OS/2: System Vendor Rounds out Standard-Platform Product Line with New Coyotes Going into Washington Post and Daily Oklahoman

Article excerpt

SII ports Coyote to OS/2

When the so-called fourth wave in publishing systems began rolling in, about the last to make shore was System Integrators Inc.

To be sure, the Sacramento firm eventually integrated PCs and later Macintoshes into its product line, but it kept faith in its Tandem-based System/ 55, which served it and hundreds of customers so well. It has been enchanced and expanded, but never replaced.

While other vendors developed new lines, SII retained its basic system and its place as number two systems supplier to newspapers. Indeed, picking up the rear in fourth-wave systems, it also picked up numerous contracts from publishers uninterested in serving as others' guinea pigs, those who had and came away disappointed or from others who simply ran out of patience.

Gradually adopting standard platforms and allying with others whose systems rely almost entirely on them, SII clearly was not about to buck the trend. Its new platform is further evidence of what it said is its continuing move away from hardware manufacturing to software and system integration - which has also characterized the shift to fourth-wave systems at other large vendors.

If it could not buck the trend, neither would it burn bridges and leave existing customers in the lurch, according to SII chief executive Al Edwards. What resulted is what SII regards as a proven system offering power and fault tolerance that embraces added functionality from off-the-shelf products.

Last month, SII announced details of an effort long under way, the outlines of which already had been sketched out when the Washington Post decided to revamp its newsroom (E&P, March 10, 1990). When the Post wanted to put several hundred IBM PS/2 machines on reporters' and editors' desks, it talked to four vendors, SII among them. At the time, systems manager Ken Weiss told E&P the Post's backup plan in the event of late delivery also relied on SII products.

The Post's "long relationship" with SII dates from one of the company's early classified system installations and more recent addition of 180 Coyote terminals in the newsroom, supplementing an aging Ray-Edit system. There are about 400 editorial workstations of various kinds at the Post right now. Eventually all, including the Coyote QBs, will give way to the new Coyote/MTX - a PS/2-based Coyote running under the Microsoft-IBM OS/2 operating system and using the Tandem as the central processor to manage the database.

SII announced its intention to create a product for OS/2 in 1988 and began writing code the next year, according to advanced systems marketing manager Tom Shorten. Negotiations with the Post also got under way and development proceeded quietly thereafter.

The Coyote/MTX bows as what sales and marketing executive vice president Bill Aaronson called "a mature product," which he attributes to SII's first-time use of prototyping to gain customer feedback and speed development. The product ships in three months, by which time, said SII marketing communications manager Roger Peterson, "we expect to have two installed sites."

Both sites are phased installations. For the Post, SII marketing vice president Steven Nilan expected the job would be "substantially completed by the end of the year."

The second site, also announced late last winter, is Oklahoma City, where the Daily Oklahoman had already taken delivery of PCs equipped with Coyote boards and will evolve to the new Coyote software, beginning this summer. Oklahoma's new Coyotes would reportedly be Olivetti PS/2 clones.

The paper is getting much more than a replacement for its Hastech system. Under SII, it is integrating editorial and advertising systems and using the Mac/55 Macintosh-to-Tandem link and Graphics: db database to handle graphics and display ad makeup. Notably, the paper will be utilizing SII PageStream pagination. Interactive News Layout is already on line, as scheduled. …

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