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March 12, 1997updated 05 Sep 2016 12:05pm

GANG OF FOUR TO DRIVE THEIR VISION OF WEB-TONE

By CBR Staff Writer

IBM Corp, Sun Microsystems Inc, Oracle Corp and Netscape Communications Corp are going to use their collective clout to try and drive what they call a common style guide into use for building object-based distributed internet technologies. They say their aim is to allow corporations to do business over the internet without having to worry about underlying technologies. The subtext is quite obviously their concern that now Microsoft Corp has consolidated its grip on the desktop it will turn its attention to dominating corporate networks and that common object technology as defined in their terms is not moving into use quickly enough. The four say they want to make the internet as easy to use as the telephone system and plan to extend existing technologies where they already exist and propose others where they don’t. Sun’s particular intent is to be the provider of systems and software that deliver a web tone in the same way telecommunications companies deliver dial tone. The four say they will use the Object Management Group’s Corba architecture as the starting point, in particular the IIOP Inter-ORB Internet Protocol which provides basic interconnection between different distributed object systems. They describe this as the equivalent of the basic wiring of public telephone networks and initially want to provide common naming and directory services for use on the internet similar to the directory enquiry and phone book services phone users take for granted. They’ve invented yet more jargon to describe the kinds of services they’ll collaborate on: crossware anyone? Each will enhance its existing products with what ever new technologies are created. Specifics were pretty thin on the ground but as we understand it they will make joint submissions to OMG’s technology specifications and press the organization to create others in areas where it currently has none. They want to accelerate the delivery of implementations of OMG specifications and have a shadowy plan to define a common object component architecture for collaborative; OMG’s endorsement of the IBM/Apple OpenDoc compound document architecture has clearly fallen on deaf ears. A common naming system being created by IBM, Sun and Visigenic Software Inc is already behind schedule but is now at the prototype stage, the three say.

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