X/Open Co Ltd chief Geoff Morris dropped in on us last week to put his spin on how the Reading, UK-based standards group will finally hitch itself with the Open Software Foundation research and development organisation. Details of the merger are expected to be complete by the time the organisations’ respective user bodies meet next March. Morris says his visit to the Foundation next month will start the ball rolling, but claims that there is already firm agreement that a future consortium will need to be more than an alphabet soup of open systems. It’s premised upon the need to speed up the time between defining technological requirements and getting to the branding process, Morris says. But users’ and vendors’ disenchantment with having to come up with membership dues for a bunch of different committees when what they want is integrated, standards-based offerings has been apparent for some time. Previous attempts to forge an X/Open-Software Foundation supergroup have come to naught: indeed the recently-touted notion of a ‘superconsortium’ to stop up some of the industry’s gaping money drains was publicly pooh-poohed by both. Although both X/Open and the Foundation are run as non-profit organisations, the UK tax system prevents the Reading, Berkshire-based X/Open being registered as a non-profit company; its surplus, as such, is ploughed back into the group. Some $6m of X/Open’s $15m turnover last year was derived from vendors’ fees. User and vendor fees make up most of the Foundation’s $40m-odd turnover.