Systems Applications Architecture next week – with the unifying structure likely to be Systems Network Architecture playing a role comparable to the one played for DEC by the combination of VMS and DECnet. The applications development regime, first hints of which surfaced at the end of last year (CI No 586), will define user and communications interfaces for all mainstream IBM computer lines, with the promise that if software developers write to the interfaces – or adapt existing software to them – their products will be portable across otherwise incompatible IBM product lines. Use of IBM’s proprietary SNA rather than Open Systems standards will irritate the international standards bodies who have been hearing endlessly of late how committed IBM is to their cause, but IBM needs to tie the environment to a proprietary product to avoid a stampede by competing manufacturers to implement the interfaces and claim the mainframes, minis and micros to be now 100% IBM-compatible. The environment may have another name when formally launched, the current suggestion being CSC for Cross System Consistency.
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