An initial specification for the Common Open Software Environment’s common desktop environment is due out by the end of this month, possibly as soon as June 21. X/Open Co has already seen these preliminary specifications. But COSE front men are already preparing those looking for any technical details for a disappointment. Unix System Laboratories Inc’s […]
An initial specification for the Common Open Software Environment’s common desktop environment is due out by the end of this month, possibly as soon as June 21. X/Open Co has already seen these preliminary specifications. But COSE front men are already preparing those looking for any technical details for a disappointment. Unix System Laboratories Inc’s Andy Nagal described the initial document as describing the first high level of common behaviour, while Hewlett-Packard Co’s Doug Johnsone claimed that the document would not look at the detailed workings of the application programming interfaces – that would mean a thousand pages of documentation. That work, he said, would be carried out over the following months, in preparation for the common desktop environment software developer’s conference scheduled for October. But, as one attendee pointed out, if the common desktop is basically Motif, why do we need a conference at all? The answer is that the specification will go significantly beyond Motif. According to Johnsone, it will detail such things as help, interprocess communications, light-duty systems management, iconisation, and applications launching and network distribution. In addition, an Open Look window will be able to be popped up in the middle of Motif, and parts of Hewlett-Packard’s Visual User Environment, such as the dashboard and rooms concept, are to be added. Indeed a reported 100 page draft of the specification in circulation describes a Motif environment with a VUE Visual User Environment control panel on the bottom. By October, the first sample source code should be ready. This will then be used as the basis for individual implementations of the common desktop from the various COSE companies, and from anyone else who wants to use it. Other developers also have the option of working entirely from the specification, with no royalties to pay, or waiting until finished product is available on the market at fair and reasonable licensing terms and conditions. That should be the first half of 1994. Meanwhile, the specification will be pushed through X/Open’s FastTrack standards ratification process as quickly as possible. Sytems management specifications, essentially a collection of programming interfacess that will reconcile the Open Software Foundation’s Distributed Computing Environment with Obect Management Group standards – part of the so-called COSE II and III efforts – won’t see the light of day for at least 18 months. COSE representatives are said to have been talking to X/Open about proposals to speed up its FastTrak process for the Common Desktop and other COSE specifications, involving the concurrent review of specifications by its members and others. COSE says it plans to make all its working groups publically visible, and will announce the existance of each working group at its formation.