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Although a ruling is expected within the next week from the General Services Administration Board of Contract Appeals concerning DEC’s protest over the US Air Force making the Unix System V Interface Definition a requirement for its $3,500m AFCAC project for 20,000 small multi-user Unix systems (CI No 782), last week the board accepted a brief from the Computer & Communications Industry Association lobby group. The Washington- based pressure group claims DEC failed to distinguish between open operating systems, such as the Unix interface definition, and closed proprietary operating systems and that DEC ig-nored the fact that the System V definition is supported by a number of different manufacturers and vendors. CCIA says that AFCAC’s SVID specification allows not only the wealth of operating system products derived from the AT&T licensed Unix system technology to be offered, but totally independent products, which are not based on AT&T’s Unix, to be used as well. The association adds that if the DEC protest succeeds, it could lead to a Board of Contract Appeals ruling restric-ting Federal use of Unix and other industry standard software. The Association move at this late stage could imply it believes a ruling in DEC’s favour is on the cards.

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