0.0 Edit History.
5 September 1998: Begin FAQ. This FAQ will be sparse for several months.
4 October 1998: Document various problems.
1.0 What is the DCOM for Linux FAQ?
The DCOM for Linux FAQ is a list of frequently asked questions about installing, developing and administering DCOM on Linux computers. Software AG's EntireX DCOM FAQ is a prerequsite to this document.
1.1 Where is the home site for the DCOM for Linux FAQ?
The home site for the DCOM for Linux FAQ is http://SoftworksLtd.com/dcomlinuxfaq.html. The maintainer is Bob Salita of Softworks Limited, a software developer heavily entangled in DCOM for UNIX projects.
1.2 What is DCOM?
DCOM is a distributed object technology developed by Microsoft. In simple programmer terms, DCOM provides a mechanism for transparently executing function calls across computer systems. DCOM is a complex body of software that incorporates technologies such as distributed objects programming, object life cycle management, communications protocols, security, cross-platform interoperability. DCOM is in the same solution space as CORBA. DCOM is fully implemented on Windows NT and almost fully featured on Windows 95 and Windows 98.
For an example of what DCOM for UNIX can make possible, check out this Visual Basic source code that wraps the Linux libc shared object into a class library. It is running on Linux using DCOM and an unreleased beta of software from the VBVM project.
1.3 Who are the players in DCOM?
Microsoft developed DCOM for use on Windows. About 1996, Microsoft licensed DCOM technology to other organizations including Compaq (Digitial Equipment), HP, Mainsoft, Open Group, and Software AG. Software AG deserves credit for performing the majority of DCOM porting to UNIX and OS/390 mainframes. Software AG maintains the largest staff of DCOM for UNIX personel. Microsoft has released ports for Sun, HP/UX and is working on a 64-bit port to the Dec Alpha.
1.4 What ports of DCOM are available and who is the vendor?
No. I don't think there is a need at present. Some proposed names are [alt|comp].os.unix.programmer.com or if Microsoft supported a group - microsoft.public.unix.dcom?
1.6 Is there an email discussion list for DCOM for Linux/UNIX?
There is an email discussion list for DCOM for UNIX called dcomunix.
1.7 Should I get involved in DCOM for Linux/UNIX?
DCOM for Linux has been released by Software AG but without support. So production use is out of the question. However, it works pretty well for purposes of evaluating the technology and developing proof of concept programs. DCOM for UNIX won't hit full stride for several years but its feasible to start the evaluation process now. More maturity and a killer app is needed for widespread acceptance. My guess is that distributed computing will get a kick start when Netscape releases a CORBA enabled version of Navigator. That will peak interest.
2.0 Where can I get DCOM for Linux?
DCOM for Linux runtime, SDK, examples and documentation are available for free from Software AG. However, Software AG doesn't provide any support for DCOM for Linux, neither for free nor for pay. Your best chance for support is from the dcomunix email discussion list mentioned above.
2.1 What are DCOM for Linux runtime software requirements?
From Software AG's Linux runtime documentation:
From Software AG's Linux SDK documentation:
No distribution contains all of the required software packages. However, SuSE Linux 5.2 almost meets the minimum requirements. DCOM for Linux on SuSE Linux 5.3 seems to have worked on one in-house system but not on another. You only need to install an update of the linuxthreads package. Although 5.2 and 5.3 contain GNU software that's slightly older than SDK requirements, I haven't experienced any problems with GNU stuff, but I program in C, not C++. Your mileage may vary.
Alas, DCOM for Linux does not work with distributions based on glibc 2.x such as RedHat. According to Software AG, this is because of bugs in glibc 2.x.
3.0 Installing DCOM for Linux
Installing DCOM for Linux is somewhat difficult for newbies. Generally the documentation is pretty good. For me, the most difficult part was understanding how to modify the dcomconfig file. So here's a diff that might help. Two lines were edited. In place of "yournode.yourdomain.com" use the ip address of your primary NT server. My NT server has an IP number of "126.96.36.199". Modify the other line as follows, replace "yourdomain" with the name or your NT server domain. If your NT system is a standalone server, then use the first name that shows up when you do a "net name" command on the primary NT server.
4.0 Bugs in DCOM for Linux
Before assuming there is a bug in DCOM for Linux, double check conformance with all of the software requirements mentioned above. Here are some reported bugs:
There aren't any published benchmarks. DCOM performance under Linux seems to be pretty good considering the added overhead of remoting objects. Certainly fast enough to solve a wide range of problems suited to distributed objects technology. I hope to post benchmarks by the end of October.