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February 10, 1997updated 05 Sep 2016 12:30pm


By CBR Staff Writer

The Open Group is about to be set up as the testing and branding vehicle for NCs. The companies who memorialized the Network Computer Reference Profile (NCRP) back last May, to wit IBM, Apple, Oracle, Netscape and Sun Microsystems, along with two of their new NC-loving subsidiaries Oracle’s Network Computer Inc and Netscape’s Navio Communications Inc, have reportedly signed a draft agreement with the Open Group to test NCs for conformance to the NCRP. The Open Group is then to follow up with a branding program. The agreement should be announced this coming week. Though many pejorative things can and have been said about the Open Group and its antecedents, its testing and branding procedures, while slow, are competent. It remains to be seen who in the NC coalition actually made the decision and why the coalition felt it is necessary to police conformance to a set of common denominators or building blocks as theoretically loose as the NCRP, or so it was made to seem last May. Doubtless there is a political element to it. Ironically, speaking of politics, the Open Group is already home to Microsoft’s quasi-ActiveX standardization effort, the Active Group, from which, by the way, little has been heard of late. It should at least be amusing to watch how these diametrically opposed efforts, NCs and Microsoft, comport themselves under a common umbrella and how Open Group will manage both them and its own conflicts of interest. The NC coalition may have its own doubts. Sources said the agreement it’s signed expires at the end of March and it is currently unclear what, if anything, must be done for the option to be picked up. Meanwhile, the NCRP itself is about to be revved. As we understand it what that means is that it is to be updated so that its constitute parts, such as HTTP, for instance, reflect the latest rev of each of those particular standards. To our knowledge it does not mean that the NCRP will be tighten up somehow or substantively added to. The Open Group may use the coalition’s move to imply that it now has control of the NC standard. However, it would seem unlikely that NCRP itself can actually be made a de jure standard since it is already a collection of other people’s standards.


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