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April 20, 1994

NEW SOFTWARE FOUNDATION BOARD, TO MEET THIS WEEK, WILL ATTEMPT TO PATCH COMMON DESKTOP ENVIRONMENT MODEL

By CBR Staff Writer

The first Open Software Foundation board meeting to which Sun Microsystems Inc and the other new sponsors will be privy is scheduled to be held this week. As of last week, although the nominees could change at the last minute, it looked as if Novell Inc would send Don McGovern, vice-president of its Unix Systems Group; SunSoft Inc its technology officer Rob Gingell – who wrote the paper on which the Open Software Foundation reorganisation is based – and AT&T Global would send Mark Hurd, vice-president of marketing at its Worldwide Servers Marketing Group. These guys have to be voted on and accepted by the existing board which includes IBM Corp’s Donna Van Fleet, Digital Equipment Corp’s Dennis Roberson, who is chairman, and Hewlett-Packard Co’s Jim Bell. Plans are for the board to meet monthly for the next few months while the reorganisation is in progress. During this time, companies such as Novell will have to be reassured that the system is going to work. Part of that will rest with whether the board splits down old religious lines. Doubtless they are all hoping the Software Foundation strategy will enable them to repair the hurried, and now broken, Common Desktop Environment model – with that, IBM, Hewlett-Packard, Sun and Novell, in their haste to organise it, forgot to puzzle out how they were going to make any money out of it. As it is, CDE 1.0 – final code for which isn’t scheduled to be ready until the fourth quarter, will cost the quartet a whopping $30m – $7.5m each – with no possibility of recouping that amount. Moving CDE 2.0 into the newly restructured Open Software Foundation process, as envisaged in the memorandum of understanding the partners have signed, seeks to repair that flaw and do the arithmetic before the event.

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