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Chris Stone, long-term president of the Object Management Group, is leaving to join his old friend Eric Schmidt at Novell Inc, where he will become senior vice president of strategy and corporate development from September 2. He follows old object colleague John Slitz, now Novell’s senior vice president of marketing, to the company. Slitz left OMG a few years ago to become IBM Corp’s VP objects. Stone, who has been heading the OMG since 1989, joining from Data General Corp (CI No 1,163), will remain as chairman of the board. Richard Soley, technical director, and Bill Hoffman, marketing director, will share the office of co-president. Stone will stay on the East Coast and going to beef up Novell’s presence in Wellesley near Boston. Stone says he and Schmidt share the same ideas about distributed computing and want them to be successful. He says Novell is a classic turnaround that needs a cohesive strategy and execution. Great products and people. Eric is focused and has it turning. Novell is the #1 networking company in the world with the revolution in networking exploding. It’s not rocket science. With Stone on board assume object technology is going figure large in Novell’s plans: Java, Corba, Intranetware and platform independent distributed services, as well as no-holds-barred competition with Windows NT.


Summing up how far object technology has moved along during his tenure, Stone says that when he arrived at OMG the concepts of objects were encased in basically a single language extension – C to C++. Today all programming models are object-oriented informed. Distributed object technology was simply an idea that I pushed to mask complexity of remote procedure calls and low level protocols. Stone says that application developers were not developing applications, they were developing communications software (gateways etc) and building proprietary tools on proprietary platforms so they could build a simple business application, which is absurd when the world is moving towards computers that needed to be connected. In fact, the largest problem faced by most large enterprises in the immediate future is the integration of their existing stovepipe applications, not creating new applications. For Stone, the opportunity to interoperate and impact this world with Java, Corba and other technologies is enormous. I believe object technology has matured 15 years in the past eight. It is mainstream in tools and languages and will be mainstream for enterprise developers within two or three years. At Novell, expect to see Stone drive the creation of an infrastructure and distributed services which objects will use to communicate.

Capitalism 101

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Real-world distributed object computing requires much more than a communication mechanism; it requires infrastructure. The world needs a new Infrastructure and a set of distributed services. The Web and HTTP are not it, but they raised the bar for the Internet. The web to me is one big Transaction server (service). Applications need to find objects that are migrating about the network; objects that the applications need may be dormant and require activation; applications need to obtain services based on general property descriptions rather than specific identities; applications need transactional integrity among groups of distributed objects; the software components that constitute a distributed system need to be administered and managed through standard interfaces; the underlying mechanisms that support communication, location, and other basic services must be reliable, able to recover from errors and re-configure themselves as necessary to provide high availability; the list goes on. Novell is technically positioned extremely well here, but it needs to win the hearts and minds of the corporate decision tree, then stay focused and implement on it. This was my goal with OMG. Now we all need to do is implement this and compete. Capitalism 101.

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