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November 23, 1987


By CBR Staff Writer

Speaking at Stockholm’s Uniforum conference Mike Lambert, no longer an ICL employee but the full time Technical vice president of X/Open Ltd, anticipated that a portability guide covering all aspects of data management, distributed systems and high level languages would be completed during the early part of 1989. However, those expecting guaranteed applications portability as a result might remember that the 11 members of the X/Open group, whose intent is to promote software portability, have to have only one system each amongst their entire product line that conforms to the Portability Guide and that doesn’t even need to have shipped. Nevertheless, X/Open is pressing on with covering further areas and assuming that Posix becomes an IEEE standard on schedule, expects to bring out the third edition of the Guide second quarter 1988. Lambert outlined some of the latest progress; AT&T is said to be close to shipping C-ISAM, which the Group adopted as the basis of the X/Open data management C language interface, and compliant ISAM’s are available from Austec and Root (or now Unisoft); X/Open is working with national user groups to define standard glosseries and error messages as its latest effort in internationalisation; Ada will join the list of high level languages supported early in 1988. National Bureau of Standards A verification suite for testing conformance to the Portability Guide is currently in use by members and the National Bureau of Standards has also been given one: the group intends to make the test more widely available by giving it to bodies such as NBS and then to other manufacturers and interested parties. In the networking area, the group’s focus on defining protocol independent application interfaces to services is set to result in a a ‘trial use’ standard covering Application to Application communication following the earlier production of a draft Transport interface. The X/Open security working group will be producing a white paper covering its security cookbook during March or April next year. This working group’s intention is to satisfy US commercial security needs first, then look at Europe, followed by the Far East, and finally the rest of the world will be addressed. The group is also currently working on the definition of application interfaces to the X-Window system and expects this to be available early next year. One of the major work efforts will be converging the portability Guide with Posix when it becomes a full use standard during the spring of 1988 and the other thing must be to move into its own offices. When X/Open became a limited company back in September, its major aim was to move out of its offices at ICL in Bracknell, Berkshire to make its independence tangible but to date the five full-time X/Open employees are still based at ICL. Next year X/Open intends to add new members to the group satisfying the $500m turnover and commitment requirements and set up formal consultation procedures for smaller manufacturers, software houses and large end users.

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