Eastman Kodak Company subsidiary
Research Systems Inc.
(RSI) has announced the reversal of an earlier decision to drop support for several platforms, including Mac OS X. As a result, RSI plans to continue Mac OS X development of two scientific data analysis tools.
IDL, or Interactive Data Language, is an interactive high-level language developed for analysts, scientists, engineers or anyone else that needs to perform in-depth data analysis. ENVI, the Environment for Visualizing Images, has been developed to enable earth scientists to process, analyze and display multispectral, hyperspectral, or radar remote sensing data.
RSI vice president of engineering Richard Cooke said that his company has adjusted plans based on the feedback it’s received from its own customers.
“We intend to work closely with the customer base to better understand their future platform plans so that we can make informed decisions about which platforms can be supported profitably,” said Cooke.
RSI explained that it would provide a Mac OS X-native release of IDL and ENVI that will work on Mac OS X via Tenon Intersystems’ Xtools X-Windows server and a Motif interface. According to RSI, the decision to make IDL and ENVI work through Xtools helps to reduce the company’s cost of development and support by treating Mac OS X as just another UNIX platform. The news drew kudos from Tenon president Anita Holmgren, who said her company developed Xtools expressly for work like this.
RSI said that it will offer a special pre-release version of IDL for Mac OS X during the first quarter of 2002 which will support Velocity Engine optimizations, multithreading support and support for other Mac OS X technology. A native version of ENVI will follow shortly thereafter. RSI said that a more firm date for ENVI would be available once IDL is in circulation.
For IDL 5.5 users, this announcement may indicate a good time to upgrade to Mac OS X if they haven’t already; RSI confirmed that IDL 5.5 is the last release to support Mac OS 8 and 9. RSI plans to continue to sell that version, but will not release any new versions of IDL or ENVI for older Mac operating systems.
“Furthermore, as with AIX and Tru64, there will be a corresponding modest increase in maintenance and new license prices for the Macintosh platform in order to cover the associated development and support costs,” said RSI.