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February 21, 1993


By CBR Staff Writer

A group of OSF/Motif suppliers are embarking on a process to keep the graphical user interface open and allay end-user fears that it could one day be hijacked by an unscrupulous vendor and turned into proprietary superset of interface characteristics. The initiative – apparently blessed, but not led, by the Open Software Foundation – includes Hewlett-Packard Co, IXI Ltd and Santa Cruz Operation Inc at present. The three are said to plan to work towards a strong, open Motif, with guaranteed interoperability between different implementations via code-sharing and co-operative bug-fixing arrangements. In the first instance, IXI has taken Hewlett-Packard’s drag and drop operation specifications and will incorporate them in its Motif 1.2 and X.desktop products. The net result will find Hewlett-Packard and IXI Motif environments agreeing about how files and other structures are read and manipulated when applications are dropped upon one another. IXI has also established a Motif code-sharing partnership with Santa Cruz Operation Inc. IXI believes other hardware vendors could be drawn into the initiative as many spend up to $1m maintaining their separate Motif developments. There are few economies of scale as much of the work is duplicated. IXI says the initiative will also encourage users to move up to the latest 1.2 release of Motif – many are sticking with version 1.1 for the forseeable future, unconvinced of the robustness of the new environment.

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