The snail-like progress of the Posix portable Unix definition towards its goal of becoming a standard took a big step forward this month when the US National Bureau of Standards issued a Federal Information Processing Standard based on Posix – despite the fact that the Posix specification has yet to be finally ratified by the IEEE 1003.1 committee. Based on Draft 12 of the Posix specification, which was narrowly approved by the committee back in February, the interim Federal Standard has begun a 30 day comment period, after which it can be used in procurement contract request for proposals from the US Federal Government. And other government bodies are expected to commit to Posix conformance, if not to the Federal Standard itself. The National Bureau of Standards already has a test suite waiting in the wings, which is expected to be release after the comment period. A final version of the Federal Standard is expected later this year, following the expected final approval of the Posix standard next month.