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IONA: “SO FAR FROM [CORBA] COMPLIANCE IT’S NOT EVEN FUNNY”

One leading object technology vendor we spoke with and that didn’t want to be identified said that it’s all very well for companies to rubbish the Object Management Group’s Corba interoperability efforts (CI No 3,255), but thinks it’s about time some of the most aggressive Corba marketers, such as the ORB object request broker companies, put their own houses in order first. It says it has tested both Visigenic Software Inc, Iona Technologies Ltd and other ORB products and that none of them actually complies with the Corba 2.0 Part A specification which deals with Corba-to-COM interoperability. Let alone the Part B Corba-to-DCOM spec which was passed unanimously by a vote of OMG’s platform technology group last week with one abstention; Microsoft Corp (OMG’s Architecture Board must approve the spec before it goes to a full OMG vote). Although Visigenic has never claimed its ORB does bi-directional COM-to-Corba translation, Iona does claim compatibility with Corba 2.0 Part A, when in fact it’s not, according to our sources. They are so far from compliance it’s not even funny, it told us. The unnamed vendor said it had complained to OMG about Iona’s claims but OMG said it could do little until there are suitable compliance tests available. That’s what The Open Group is supposed to creating for OMG, though it’s not clear whether it’ll actually come up with anything to test bi-directional work. What we hear is that if a company follows the Corba specification then a product will work fine and will be clean and easy for customers to implement. If not, a whole bunch of customization will be required. While Iona’s aggressive marketing certainly seems to be bringing home the bacon our sources say that Iona business could yet take a fall. Its customers may decide they want to implement SAP AG R/3 or another enterprise application. If they do, it’s likely the application company might want to own the customer’s intranet and would therefore replace Iona with its preferred solution. Iona may have also have a problem with its Corba-DCOM bridge our sources think. Reverse-engineering DCOM is one thing, implementing it in production systems is quite another, they observe. Once TOG creates its test suites Iona is going to have to go back to the drawing board, they say.

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CBR Staff Writer

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