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Next year, European Community-sponsored testing for Posix conformance should become a reality following the award to a consortium led by the UK National Computing Centre in Manchester of a contract for setting up a testing service. Other members of the consortium are X/Open Ltd – whose VSX test suite is a contender for the software to be used for testing Posix conformance – British Telecom, Ireland’s National Software Centre, and Computer Resources International of Denmark. The project is part of the EC’s Conformance Testing Services programme, which already covers Open Systems Interconnection communications software and programming languages. As a result, the UK Computing Centre, its Irish counterpart, and the Danish body plan to set up Posix testing centres which will operate the test suite. The UK’s Central Computer & Telecommunications Agency, which sets guidelines for computers in government, has already come out heavily in favour of specifying Posix compatibility in procurements; however there appears to be little indication as yet of any EC-wide insistence on Posix conformance on a par with the stipulation on Open Systems Interconnection conformance for government procurements that came into force earlier this year. The National Computig Centre, which already operates Open Systems and programming language testing, is responsible for the overall management of the Posix Conformance Test Suite project; aims include eventual co-ordination with the work of the US National Bureau of Standards, although the issue is clouded at present by the recent decision by the US body to remove some of the optional features of Posix before adopting it as a US Government procurement standard. In itial project work will include establishment of testing procedures and investigation of existing software for a potential test suite. The consortium wants the suite to cover fully the Posix 1003.1 definition, to comply with 1003.3, and to be expandable so as to be able to cover future extensions, including 1003.2.

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