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A new UK Unix standards initiative has been floated with the aim of involving smaller companies in standards issues that are usually the province of the multinationals. Both X/Open and the newly formed Open Software Foundation require a vast influx of cash from members, and X/Open will reportedly only consider members with sales of over $10m a year. The Common Unix Environment Project is to be launched on the eve of the European Unix User Show next week, and has been led by UK systems company Bleasdale Computer Systems Plc. Other members include benchMark Technologies Ltd, Cambridge Micro Computers Ltd, Ferranti Computer Systems Ltd, Integrated Micro Products Ltd, ITL Information Technology Plc, The Instruction Set Ltd, Lynwood Scientific Ltd, and Unisoft Ltd. The group will not attempt to set new standards, according to Bleasedale Computers Chairman Eddie Bleasdale. It is a forum for companies to exchange technology and make the best use of emerging standards, he says. Specialist hardware manufacturers and software developers are better positioned to implement standards faster than the large corporations. The Common Unix Environment has already established a working relationship with the X/Open Group. ITL’s technical director, Garth Shepherd, will represent CUE at future X/Open technical meetings. Shepherd said that CUE could provide the right technical platform for small companies. Individually, we are not big enough to join X/Open and are too far removed from the US to impact Posix. Together, we represent an important part of the Unix market in Europe. The Common Unix Environment will be run as a separate limited company from its own London offices, and will maintain a full time administrative staff, according to Bleasdale.

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