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February 21, 1997updated 05 Sep 2016 12:33pm


By CBR Staff Writer

As part of the on-going work to align their respective Unix operating systems, the Santa Cruz Operation and Hewlett-Packard Co have come up with a set of application programming interfaces which they also hope to push through as part the forthcoming Unix 98 revision of the X/Open Co Spec 1170 single Unix specification (CI No 3,071). The two say they have increased the depth of the common definition for interfaces already included in the X/Open requirements, and agreed on common definitions for other interfaces not yet included. Some other hardware and software vendors have been sent a draft specification for review. X/Open will vote on the make-up of Unix 98 in March. The interface set has been dubbed Lodi, for the town in California which is located half way between Merced – the Holy Grail Santa Cruz and Hewlett- Packard are trying to reach – and Roseville, home of Hewlett’s workstations and server development. The two are picking up the pieces that were effectively left on the floor after the multi- vendor Aspen project to develop 64-bit application programming interfaces was scaled down. In their view the Aspen work started out the same way, but was shrunk and watered down because the large number of participants couldn’t compromise on a lot of things that were eventually dropped as a result. The Lodi specification includes everything in Unix95, most, if not all of Unix98, and many interfaces that are included in neither. For example, the FMLI character-based form and menu generating routines are all included in Lodi, there are calls to handle 2Gb file sizes on 32-bit systems, and the manual pages, both syntax and semantics, are merged for a large number of system calls, library routines, and commands across UnixWare and HP-UX. There are also 50 or 60 interfaces in the system that are affected in ways that application programs can see by the change to 64-bit systems. As a result, Santa Cruz will need to recompile some of the commands in its Unix because they use these system interfaces that have changed, or modify them because they are limited internally to 32-bit sizes in some other way, or because they will need to print numbers that won’t fit in the current output formats. The most important issues in the conversion, it says, are application binary interface-related, such as the sizes of the fundamental C language data objects – LP64, agreed during the Aspen talks – the precise structure of enlarged data structures, and the format of ELF object and executable files. It is the 64- bit ELF format and its interaction with the system’s dynamic linking and loading mechanisms that is occupying most of the resources being devoted to the project right now. The compiler team at Santa Cruz are working with Hewlett-Packard and Intel Corp to ensure that everything comes out the same on all Merced systems. Lodi overlaps a lot with both Unix95 and Unix98, but also goes well beyond the content in both of them. It is a substantial step beyond Unix98, and is probably about the right scope for a Unix2000 specification. Lodi application programming interfaces have nothing specifically to do with 64-bit support. X/Open says the Unix98 specification will include changes to minimise the impact of the Year 2000 rollover; threads extensions; the Large File Summit extensions; networking services; Multibyte Support Extension; dynamic linking extensions to enable applications to share common code; and N-bit cleanup.

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