At Least They Didn't Call It Ishtar

ATTENTION MOVIE BUFFS: AT&T is paying homage to the film world with its newest operating system. The telecommunications giant, which brought us the Unix operating system, has a new program called Plan 9, named after the famously awful B-movie classic Plan 9 from Outer Space. Not that it has anything to do with movies. Plan 9, like Unix, got its start in AT&T's Bell Labs research arm and is geared for the scientific and academic communities.

The networked operating system, says AT&T, can be used for embedded systems, such as future home appliances, or for running PCs and workstations. It also comes with a Web browser that--in keeping with the movie theme--is called Mothra.

Along with the cinematic names, AT&T, which sold Unix to Novell Inc. in 1992, is doing a few things differently this time. Because AT&T freely granted licenses for Unix and allowed other developers to modify it, dozens of incompatible versions evolved. AT&T plans to keep a tighter rein over Plan 9. The system is available from AT&T's Software Solutions Group or Harcourt Brace & Co. for $350.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.