X/Open Co Ltd and the Open Software Foundation have fiddled with the notion of getting hitched – but not wed – ever since the Foundation re-invented itself a couple of years ago. Vendors and users alike saw the need to rationalise and eliminate duplicated – and costly – processes. Now interim the Foundation chief Jim Bell (the on-loan Hewlett-Packard Co director of open systems alliances who also sits on X/Open’s board) says the plan is to bring the organisations together as if they were two sister divisions of a virtual corporation, appearing seamless to an outsider. Although both organisations publicly deny any decision has been taken, insiders we spoke to say a plan, including the creation of a single board to oversee the activities of both organisations, has been tabled. Who’d get to run the show isn’t known. Although Bell doesn’t see it quite this way, the same insiders say David Tory’s resignation from the Foundation has created the opportunity to move this process along. Tory’s departure of course was reportedly all tied up with those speculative ideas about forming a Superconsortium. Following the staging of a joint Open Systems pavilion at next February’s UniForum, the Foundation and X/Open have scheduled meetings in San Francisco in March, where members of their respective user organisations will examine how to establish a single user requirement process and representative body. Paving the way, X/Open chief Geoff Morris will be explaining X/Open’s role to the Foundation staff at a meeting in Cambridge, Massachusetts on December 8. And last week, the Foundation’s Architecture Planning Council voted to adopt the X/Open standards framework as its reference model.