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September 20, 1990

UK INDUSTRY DEPARTMENT THREE-YEAR OPEN SYSTEMS PROMOTION BUDGET SPENT IN 15 MONTHS

By CBR Staff Writer

The UK Department of Trade and Industry is now 15 months into its three-year Open Systems Technology Transfer programme, and has already spent the UKP12.7m originally allocated for the project. It has produced a wealth of brochures and pamphlets encouraging businesses and organisations to begin adopting open systems strategies in their information technology plans, however there is little of any substance. The Department refuses to deal in specifics, and although it says it has identified international standards that may be worth supporting in the areas of graphical user interfaces, data structures, distributed applications and operating system functions – it does not say what those standards are, although a positioning statement is beingprepared. At a briefing in London last week,Department officials revealed that four open systems demonstration projects are now up and running at Aston University, Northamptonshire Health Authority, Rolls Royce and Lucas Diesel Systems. A spokesman described systems interconnction and applications portability as key areas of interest – presumed to be muted references to OSI and X/Open’s Common Application Environment but went on to say that the Department is trying to tell people open systems isn’t just about OSI and Unix, that the relevance of X/Open’s standards effort is a subject open for debate, and that Unix is a proprietary system. Perhaps the whole thing is best summed up by the opening comments of the briefing – there is not enough sound and practical advice to help users make up their minds.

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