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April 15, 1992


By CBR Staff Writer

Representatives of the UniForum open systems user group and its European counterpart, EurOpen, were in Utrecht this week to promote what is billed as the first pan-European open systems exhibition and conference. OpenForum ’92, to be held in the Dutch town in November this year, includes keynote speeches from Open Software Foundation’s Chuck Reilly, and AT&T Bell Laboratories vice-president of research and Nobel prize winner Arno Penzias. The aim, according to UniForum director Ed Borkovsky is to plug a gap that still exists in executive education about open systems. Borkovsky accepts that doubt still lingers in data processing managers’ minds about issues such as security, systems administration and difficulty of use when considering open systems, but believes that the message is gradually getting through. An indication of this is Bill Gates courting Washington with claims of NT’s Posix-compliance. Even some of the worst enemies of real openness now have to say they are open. US government spending on open systems is estimated at around $4,000m, a figure he contends is reasonable to expect from European governments and one that should be enough to support the development of a European open systems industry. Michel Gien, chairman of EurOpen, points to recent examples of the private sector following government procurement policy as evidence that European business is showing interest: decisions such as that by a group of car manufacturers led by Peugeot and Renault to specify certain open systems criteria in contracts should in turn have knock-on effects for open systems take-up. OpenForum is in Utrecht November 25 to 27, preceded by two days of seminars.

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