The latest round of discussions about the standardization of network computers has taken place together with a number of tests on the work done so far. One of these, a test called ‘Connectathon’ has seen IBM Corp’s and Sun Microsystems Inc’s user authentication procedure – the two have already agreed to use IBM’s technology – […]
The latest round of discussions about the standardization of network computers has taken place together with a number of tests on the work done so far. One of these, a test called ‘Connectathon’ has seen IBM Corp’s and Sun Microsystems Inc’s user authentication procedure – the two have already agreed to use IBM’s technology – tested with various vendor’s servers. The test was largely successful, said Mark Pozefsky, the IBM NC division’s strategist who is a central part of the meetings.
Pozefsky said the most recent get-together, hosted last week by Apple Computer Inc, included most of the same vendors and customer groups as the previous meetings, the last of which was at a Sun Microsystems Inc facility in Cupertino at the start of February (NBD 02/12/98). There were a couple of notable additions, the host, Apple and newcomer Hewlett-Packard Co, a company never before associated with network computers or their standardization, and overall there were some spirited discussions, says Pozefsky. Version 1.0 of the NC Profile, as the set of standards is known, has already been voted on by the Open Group’s NC working group, which will eventually produce testing and branding procedures for NCs under its ‘Open Network Computer’ banner. The next cut, version 1.1 is believed to be in a review stage at this time and version 2.0 will begin its review period in a couple of weeks.
By Nick Patience
Once again the meeting split into groups concentrating on specific areas, including configuration, booting, administration and there was a separate meeting of the printer groups going on simultaneously down in Austin, Texas. Of all those, configuration is the main area of focus, and the closest to being completed. This includes the configuration of desktops, application, and the devices, giving administrators the ability to set the configuration and users the opportunity to override them in certain cases. The boot protocol has already been agreed upon (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol, or DHCP) but, says Pozefsky, there is still the matter of which bits of the overall boot spec are to be mandatory and which are not. For example there need to be classes of machines that devices can fit into, because otherwise each vendor’s box will have to specified, which would be unworkable. In terms of the customer groups, which came mostly from the retail, finance and government sectors, some were urging the vendors to make sure the spec is right before being implemented; but on the issue of security, there was apparently quite a lengthy exchange, according to Pozefsky, with some customers urging the vendors to pick a spec and get on with it. The next meeting of the NC Profile crowd is scheduled for towards the end of April, again in California, though the exact time and location is yet to be finalized. The NC working group with the Open Group is slated to meet in the first week in April, which should clarify what progress has been made so far. In addition, the Open Group will have its quarterly customer gathering at the Marriott Mission Valley Hotel in San Diego in the last week in April; and the first day of that, April 27, is focused on NCs.