The Posix portable operating system standard based on Unix System V and destined to become a mandatory requirement for a large proportion of US government computer contracts, won endorsement from 57 manufacturers, software houses, universities and research organisations at Uniforum in Washington yesterday. Unix originator AT&T, and IBM, were among the companies announcing that they would be supporting the standard. The IEEE P1003 committee that is drawing up the standard expects its work to be complete by the end of this year, and the International Standards Organisation votes next month on whether to pick up Posix; the likelihood is that it will. The US National Bureau of Standards is getting help from AT&T with its System V Verification Suite, and Hewlett-Packard with an alternative set of conformance testing programs, and hopes to have Posix test suites for Posix available very soon after the P1003 committee completes its work. The NBS test suite will be put into the public domain. In the meantime, many US government Requests for Proposals already include adherence to Posix as mandatory as soon as it is fully defined. Posix defines only the interfaces to the operating system and will be similar to the AT&T System V Interface Definition. Implementors will be able to meet the standard either by taking licences to Posix-compliant implementations of Unix System V or by developing their own operating system to the Posix interfaces. Also endorsing Posix is the X/Open Unix applications group formed by all the major European manufacturers at ICL’s inspiration – and X/Open, which has just released the second edition of its Portability Guide, scored something of a coup at the conference when AT&T announced that it was to become its eleventh member. NCR is set to become the twelfth member next month.
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