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April 18, 1988


By CBR Staff Writer

AT&T Co’s long-awaited announcement of a standard user interface for Unix System V, designed for AT&T by Sun Microsystems Inc, with contributions from AT&T and based on technology licenced from Xerox Corp (CI No 906) presently exists only in the form of a written specification and style-guide which is to be circulated round the industry for further comment. The interface will first appear in an AT&T product this summer, in the form of a window manager for the Olivetti M380-based AT&T 6386 workstation. The final specification will be available in the third quarter of the year, and will include the applications style guide and descriptions of the programming interface for Open Look under two application programmer interface (API) toolkits: the X-Window based XT toolkit and the NDE toolkit based on Sun’s NeWS. AT&T says it will support both toolkits via a single graphics system platform, and expects to introduce the XT toolkit as a product by the end of the year, followed by the NDE toolkit early in 1989, when they will both be made available in source-code form. Open Look employs multiple windows, and graphics symbols that include push pins to pin menus to the screen, an elevator for moving up and down text, and a mouse to select labelled buttons for printing and storing files. According to AT&T, it has been designed with both document processing and more sophisticated computer-aided engineering applications in mind. At the New York launch last week, application developers such as Ashton-Tate Corp endorsed the product as a strategic element in their plans for future products. Lotus Development Corp did not however formally endorse Open Look – instead it took the opportunity to reveal that development of a Unix-based version of 1-2-3 was continuing alongside that of 1-2-3 Release 3.0, and said the company was also working with Government customers to support specific hardware platforms that support Request for Proposal Requirements. Sun spokesman Bill Woo said that most of the major systems vendors are interested in the product, and have already been approached. He said that the interface was likely to be offered by AT&T through an 8 onal licence for System V, but should also be available in the public domain. It would also be moved to MS-DOS and OS/2 micros. Sun would release its first products incorporating Open Look next year.

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