Objections overruled: triumph of diplomacy leads to agreed 90-day cooling-off period Last week saw the first trade show for object-oriented technology kick off in San Francisco as Object World got under way. The first day was subdued as the Object Management Group attempted to wrest a decision from the fierce debate surrounding the adoption of […]
Objections overruled: triumph of diplomacy leads to agreed 90-day cooling-off period
Last week saw the first trade show for object-oriented technology kick off in San Francisco as Object World got under way. The first day was subdued as the Object Management Group attempted to wrest a decision from the fierce debate surrounding the adoption of a particular technology for the object request broker. The Distributed Object Management Facility nearly won the day but some last minute assertiveness by independent vendors such as Intel Corp, Unify Corp and Data Access Corp carried the process on Tuesday. It was almost unanimously decided that the 90-day extension should be given so that the two technologies of static and dynamic binding could be brought together. Chris Stone, chairman of the Object Management Group believes that this was the best thing that could happen as it meant that technology has beaten politics. He was particularly impressed by Hewlett-Packard Co and Sun Microsystems Inc’s ability to hear what was being said in the meeting. He is hopeful that a merger of the two technologies will work – it must because he thinks that everybody has now committed too much for any one submitter to back out without looking extremely foolish. It is fair to say that the real winners on Tuesday were the HyperDesk Inc team that was grinning from ear to ear as opposed to the studied smiles on the faces of Hewlett-Packard representatives. As Stone had been a member of the development team working on this product when at Data General Corp, the decision not to dismiss this technology must have been a personal triumph as well.
IBM exasperates its open systems insiders by failing to bid in time
On the whole everyone seemed relieved that an attempt at consensus was being made, although some had reservations about the delay involved while others thought the decision to defer the decision made the Object Group look weak and vacillating. But then there were also gripes about how much better OOPSLA is – OOPSLA is apparently a tecchie conference circuit and club of people that never had to dirty their hands by actually trying to sell anything, and whines that the huge potential of the technology was being forgotten in the stampede to get it commercially recognised. Indeed the Object Management Group’s job is not an easy one – object technology itself involves so many religious wars spanning languages, the persistence and size of objects to name a few, which when combined with the pride each large vendor has in its legacy systems heightens the temperature in the technology melting pot. Of course some people are pushing a conspiracy theory that vacillation and indecision has entered the Task Force with IBM Corp. Indeed IBM does have an object request broker – the Object Control Architecture – part of the Distributed Relational Database Architecture – DRDA. However, it couldn’t get its act together quickly enough in joining the Object Group to submit this technology. This is something that has angered and frustrated the open systems lobby in IBM – but then feelings of anger and frustration are a concomitant of everyday life for the open systems lobby within IBM – and is the cause of much merry leg-pulling in Object Group technical committees. So the conspiracy theorists could have something – they could soon have a whole lot more to worry about. For Unix International Inc is now a corporate member of the Object Management Group and people at Object World were aware that negotiations between the Open Software Foundation and the Object Group were already under way for it to join also. It seems a little bizarre that standard organisations should join each other – the most worrying consideration from the Object Group’s perspective is that Unix Wars could drive the whole object-oriented conflict into a deadlock from which it became impossible to move.
Objects the hold key to linking rival distributed computing approaches Meanwhile the two teams that are now working together to provide the industry with a single object request broker gave separ
ate press briefings. Sun and Hewlett said they had been motivated to make the first joint submission by the desire to get interoperability at the remote procedure call level. They both felt that distributed computing was being retarded because Sun Microsystems’ Open Network Computing and Hewlett-Packard’s Apollo-inherited Network Computing System were competing and people were waiting to see which would gain dominant market share – now the two systems are interoperable at the object level. Graeme Greenhill, marketing manager for Hewlett’s co-operative object computing division said that he thinks the converging of the two submissions for the object request broker will be a good thing as it will establish a single standard specification, which if it is adequate and meets our needs then we will adopt it. He said that Hewlett-Packard had resisted very strongly the notion that there should be two standards as the Distributed Object Management Facility team wanted one standard and couldn’t converge its submission with the Application Control Architecture in the time available before the first deadline. Greenhill said he was confident that the two approaches would now be converged. At the HyperDEC briefing HyperDesk’s Joe Forgione said that nobody could contemplate a new request for proposals at this point – which is what will happen if a techncical fix is not found. The consensual approach is being motivated out of fear to avoid that. One thing this delay does mean is that products from HyperDesk and from Hewlett-Packard and Sun’s SunSoft will be delayed by 90 days. The SunSoft products will replace Hewlett’s NewWave for Unix program and will be jointly marketed by both Sun and Hewlett-Packard. HyperDesk’s as yet unnamed product will give third parties the opportunity to develop their own answers to NewWave. Bearing this in mind, both sides have incentive enough to get a specification set as quickly as possible but the process to do this is probably not going to be very cosy. – Katy Ring