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May 5, 1994

DCE 1.2 TECHNOLOGY COMING TOGETHER AS REQUESTS FOR TECHNOLOGY DIE

By CBR Staff Writer

According to insiders, the Open Software Foundation is unlikely to be issuing any more of its infamous Requests for Technology – all future work is set to be defined, created and channelled through the so-called Pre-Structured Technology process. The recently incarnated Open Software Foundation introduced Pre-Structured Technology as a best of COSE, the Common Open Software Environment, it said, to augment the Requests for Technology process, but so controversial were the Requests for Technology – indeed the Software Foundation and its Requests for Technology process is the subject of a continuing $100m anti-trust lawsuit – that it comes as little surprise to hear that the process has been quietly laid to rest. The problem is that no-one is yet quite sure what has replaced it. It is clear that Pre-Structured Technology, from the moment the acronym was uttered to UniForum attendees, was in danger of being poorly understood. There is no word yet on the white paper that Hewlett-Packard Co was supposed to pull together describing Pre-Structured Technology from the scattered notes people had of it, but we hear that it is still due. Version 1.2 of the Distributed Computing Environment looks set to be the first piece of technology that gets Pre-Structured Technology’d, being described as a trial by fire by one source. Sponsors likely to fund DCE 1.2 development are still organising themselves – and their coffers – and potential subcontractors are being evaluated. Technology embraced will include the anticipated federated naming service and other security extensions. A Pre-Structured Technology steering committee has yet to be established to give voice to the proceedings, and a complete package to take to Software Foundation as a solution to identify user requirements is not expected immediately, though the Software Foundation says it will say more next month. Development work is not part of the new Open Software Foundation’s brief – Pre-Structured Technology sponsors are to fund contractors and subcontractors – although it seems likely that existing Open Software Foundation engineering teams in Cambridge, Massachusetts will be contracted and bankrolled to do the work where they are.

Handful of marketing staff

There is no word on how much the DCE 1.2 effort will cost. Getting DCE 1.1 out cost the salaries of 40 engineers and a handful of marketing staff plus the $2m the Software Foundation spent buying in some of the technology, which was said to be ten of millions of dollars although below the hundred mark. The team make-up is expected to change with Pre-Structured Technology, though it is not yet clear how. A distributed management Pre-Structured Technology is thought likely to emerge out of the various existing systems management efforts. DCE 1.2 is not expected until a year or 18 months after the 1.1 release, which will shortly go to beta and is due in November.

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