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February 21, 1988


By CBR Staff Writer

The Canadian government is estimated to be about two years away from producing an operating system procurement standard. The government, which spends around $1,000m a year on computer purchases, is moving increasingly towards Unix on mini and microcomputers but because of the size of the public sector it doubts that a single operating system, such as Unix, will be specified, although a broader standard such as Posix could be favoured. Currently four of the government departments use Unix but amongst the others there is still a great deal of loyalty to proprietary systems from the likes of IBM, DEC, Data General and Prime. The Central Treasury Board is one of the departments that has adopted Unix and is one of the strongest advocates of vendor independent standards – it is promoting conferences and discussions on the subject. The Department of National Defence is another Unix supporter and its Director General of Automatic Data Processing Services, Norman Inglis, was instrumental in setting up a recent conference and exhibition – Unix in Governemnt. Inglis said after the show that it generated a tremendous amount of interest but the intention was to promote an awareness to vendors of what the government requires and to give government representatives a feeling for what was available and what the future of Unix will be. Mel Turner of Officesmiths puts Canada about a year behind the US in matters of this kind but adds that it make take Canada longer to adopt a standard procurement strategy because the central agencies do not have the same control over individual government departments as do their counterparts do in the US.

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