Integrate systems at a low cost

If your company is integrating its UNIX machine into a more modern Windows NT network, JSB Software Technologies' MultiView 2000 is a great tool to have on hand. With several components geared toward easy integration, MultiView 2000 gives you the capabilities you need without forcing you to spend a fortune. MultiView 2000's components for integrating your UNIX environment into an NT system include a terminal emulator, a file transfer program, a remote printer-mapping program, and transparent file sharing through a third-party freeware program.

The MultiView 2000 terminal emulator is one of the best terminal emulation programs on the market for NT terminal access to UNIX legacy applications. The software can connect to remote UNIX systems through TCP/IP and RS232 (modem and serial) and to NT over IPX/SPX connections. You can use TCP/IP to connect to remote systems in several ways, including standard Telnet or rlogin services. You can also open terminal windows and use Remote Execute (REXEC) and Remote Shell (RSH) utilities to automatically execute programs. The RSH utility lets you automate the process of connecting to, logging on to, and launching an application on a remote system.

Another feature that makes the terminal emulator useful for users of basic terminal programs, such as Windows' stock telnet.exe program, is support for multiple terminal types, such as SCO ANSI; AT386; DEC VT100, VT220, VT320, and VT420; and Wyse 60 terminal emulations. The MultiView 2000 terminal emulator window is fully scalable, allowing 80- or 132-column window sizes, and offers full support for color terminals when you use a terminal emulation that supports full color. The terminal emulator includes a component that lets you record keystrokes and create scripts to automate certain common functions with the click of a mouse button on the script replug command. If your UNIX system requires a slightly different keyboard layout than your NT system requires, or if your UNIX system requires support for keys that are not readily apparent on your keyboard, a graphical keyboard remapping program can help you customize how your terminal sends keystrokes to the remote system.

I particularly liked the terminal emulator's face-lifting component. This component gives a UNIX application a Windows look and feel by converting the standard text-based interface to a GUI interface via a predefined set of rules. You can use the MultiView 2000 Rules Agent to redefine how the product operates when it encounters certain conditions. In my testing, I didn't have a reason to make any changes—everything worked to my satisfaction. The Rules Agent can add multimedia (sound and image) support to your UNIX applications, and it lets you define how Web applications interpret certain actions, such as mouse clicks.

MultiView 2000's file transfer program has two options. First, you can use the Windows-based file transfer program to move files among systems. The Windows-based file transfer program uses a Windows Explorerlike interface. It breaks the screen into two panes—the left pane shows a treeview list of the local and remote systems you configure, and the right pane contains detailed information about the directory you select in the left pane. To move files from one system to another, you select the file and drag it to the appropriate directory. You can use the software to move files between remote systems without transferring the files to the local system.

I don't like the way the file transfer program interacts with remote UNIX systems. I used the file transfer program to connect to my shell account on my Internet Service Provider's (ISP's) SunOS machine. As is typical of UNIX installations, users' home directories on my ISP's server are on one tree, the /home directory. When I connected to the remote system, MultiView 2000's file transfer program connected to the UNIX system's root directory (the equivalent of C:\ on a Windows machine) and obtained the directory tree for the UNIX system, despite the fact that I had access only to /home/mikedn. I was able to expand from the root directory into /home, but then I had to search through 1100 other directories to find mine. Screen 1 shows the FTP interface.

The file transfer program's second option lets you provide Common Internet File System (CIFS) capabilities by using the freeware utility Samba on your UNIX system. The MultiView 2000 package includes Samba. CIFS, formerly known as Server Message Block (SMB), is the protocol Windows systems use to share files across a Windows network. Samba is the best file transfer mechanism included with the package; however, you can't install Samba on NT unless you have access to the UNIX system. Samba is not distributed on the CD binary format—you have to physically compile and install the software, which means you must have administration privileges. You must have a C compiler and programming savvy, because MultiView 2000 supplies Samba only in source-code format. If you don't have these capabilities, I suggest you hire a UNIX consultant to install the product for you.

JSB Software Technologies offers volume discounts for 5-, 10-, 25-, and 50-user licenses, and you can obtain a free, 30-day evaluation copy of MultiView 2000 from the company's Web site. After you install the evaluation copy, you can upgrade it to a full-featured copy with an on-the-fly license-activation code, so you won't need to reinstall the software.

MultiView 2000>
Contact: JSB Software Technologies * 831-438-8300
Price: $199
System Requirements: Windows NT Server 3.51 or 4.0, NT Workstation 3.51 or 4.0, Windows 98, or Win95, Network or serial connection, 16MB of RAM, 6MB of hard disk space