MIPS ABI Benefits
MIPS ABI Benefits for IS and for End Users
The MIPS ABI Group delivers on the promise of UNIX binary compatibility across systems from multiple vendors. The benefits of UNIX systems are well known: scalability, performance, fault-tolerance, advanced features and security to name a few. The problem has been that each computer manufacturer used a slightly different version of UNIX, resulting in an overabundance of UNIX versions, each incompatible with the others. Independent software vendors (ISVs) had too many hardware platforms to support in a cost-effective and timely manner. As a result, customers in industry often suffered through slow application software release cycles and enjoyed fewer new features...ISVs were simply too busy porting and maintaining their applications.
The MIPS ABI Group, Inc. represents all of the leading UNIX computer vendors who support MIPS® RISC-based systems from MIPS Technologies, Inc. Today, this roster of companies includes Control Data Systems, Dansk Data Elektronik, NEC, Siemens Nixdorf, Siemens Pyramid, Silicon Graphics Sony and Tandem Computers. In 1991, these companies began working together to achieve binary compatibility across all of their MIPS RISC UNIX SVR4-based systems. Today more than 75 business-critical applications from over 20 leading ISVs are available for MIPS ABI compliant systems including leading vendors such as Oracle, SAS Institute, Informix and many others. (An online current listing can be found here) In addition to these, there are hundreds of additional vertical market applications which are built using ABI-compliant versions of Informix, Oracle, Acucobol, Liant Cobol and others.
End-users and IS benefit from the MIPS ABI in several ways
The MIPS ABI represents a wider variety of quality software for users of MIPS ABI-compliant systems. By working together, the MIPS ABI Group member companies have created a larger binary compatible market for software sales worldwide. The result is a greater variety of software in a more timely fashion on all MIPS ABI-compliant systems.
In addition, because the MIPS ABI represents a large market opportunity for ISVs, MIPS ABI ports are generally considered "first tier", meaning that ISVs port to the MIPS ABI in their first group of ports, along with HP, Sun and IBM. This provides parity of application availability across systems from MIPS ABI vendors as well as other leading UNIX system vendors. The same features found in ports on Sun or HP machines are generally found in the current versions of the same software on MIPS ABI systems.
Another benefit is the MIPS ABI consolidates up to eight ports into one. As a result, ISVs have fewer platforms to support, and can spend more of their time and resources developing and enhancing their applications.
Many users, including many large IS groups, develop their applications in-house. By adhering to the MIPS ABI Conformance Guide standards, IS groups can develop applications that will run, without modification, on a variety of compliant-systems. MIPS ABI compliant systems range from small workstations and 3-D graphics workstations to departmental and mid-size servers and mainframe class systems. A MIPS ABI compliant application can run on all of these systems without any recompilation or changes to the code. This provides corporate developers with the freedom to choose from a variety of open system solutions and reduce their costs of computing and development.
End users and corporate IS groups using MIPS RISC technology from MIPS Technologies, Inc. receive the benefits of using the most advanced RISC microprocessor technology available today. The MIPS RISC architecture was the first to utilize dual 32- and 64-bit technology, ensuring continued support for newly developed 64-bit applications while continuing support for industry-standard 32-bit applications. Further, MIPS RISC technology has consistently provided industry-leading performance for both commercial and technical applications. The family of R3000, R4000 and R10000-based systems provide balanced integer and floating point performance.
The MIPS ABI Group is continually evolving the MIPS ABI Conformance Guide to include emerging standards for new technologies including asynchronous I/O, long file names and C++ support, to name a few. The MIPS ABI Group doesn't create new standards. Rather, the Group adopts existing standards and does so in a coordinated manner to ensure that all MIPS ABI-compliant systems are supported in an identical fashion, guaranteeing application portability across all platforms.
Since its inception, the MIPS ABI group has worked closely with leading software industry vendors including SAS Institute, Oracle, Informix and others. these ISVs participate in the development and implementation of technical specifications such as the MIPS ABI conformance guide which address valuable new technologies for the MIPS ABI group. The result is a full-featured, standardized ABI that supports most all leading applications' requirements.