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August 25, 1988

IEEE AND US STANDARDS BUREAU APPROVE POSIX AND FEDERAL STANDARDS AT LAST

By CBR Staff Writer

After months of delay, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers standards board has finally approved the 1003.1 Portable Operating System Interface, Posix, standard, completing a long and complex ballotting process that started back in November 1987. Posix provides the specification for developing applications programs and computer operating systems that will allow for applications portability across multi-vendor, Posix-compatible machines. A trial-use Posix standard was published in 1986, and the newly approved 1003.1 represents an update and revision of that document. And with the IEEE approval, the American National Bureau of Standards has indicated that it will start the the revision process on the interim Federal Information Processing Standards issued in April (CI No 935) to bring it into line with the IEEE standard. The interim Federal Standard, which can be used in procurement contract request for proposals, was based on Draft 12, while the version approved today is Draft 13. A number of minor differences exist, said P1003.1 chairman Jim Isaak but for government agencies, the interim FIPS, IEEE standard and NBS Posix conformance testing suite provide a soild base for systems procurement and evaluation. Isaak estimated that a full Federal Standard, which takes advantage of features included in Berkeley Unix, rather than System V, would be ready in around six months. Meanwhile, said Isaak, organisations beyond US Federal government users could now specify Posix conformance to ensure applications portability. Next stage for Posix is submission to ANSI, the American National Standards Institute and to the International Standardisation Organisation for full status as an international standard, a process which could take another year, according to Isaak. But, he said, IEEE approval gives those organisations a very stable reference document to work on. Actual publica.cw 8 tion of IEEE 1003.1 will take another few months.

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