An irked X/Open Group Co Ltd has taken exception to the reasons advanced last week by the Open Software Foundation as to why it quit X/Open, as well as the way it now characterises X/Open as almost completely Unix-centric and portability-proud and hence less than useful to the Foundation members. Contrasting himself to Foundation president […]
An irked X/Open Group Co Ltd has taken exception to the reasons advanced last week by the Open Software Foundation as to why it quit X/Open, as well as the way it now characterises X/Open as almost completely Unix-centric and portability-proud and hence less than useful to the Foundation members. Contrasting himself to Foundation president David Tory, who confided his reasons to our sister paper Unigram.X last week, X/Open’s chief operations officer, George Shaffner, says he’d like just to stick to the facts. X/Open, he says, is probably the last bastion of product-independent specifications in the industry – far more concerned with open systems than with Unix. In fact X/Open says it has twice refused a proposal to standardise on the Unix System V Interface Definition. When X/Open was formed back in 1984, it took some bits and pieces of the then System V Interface Definition 2 for its embryonic X/Open System Interface and added other stuff of its own, such as internationalisation. X/Open admits it is awaiting a further proposal from Unix International that deals with a possible future alignment between System V Interface Definition 3 and the X/Open System Interface, but it hasn’t seen the thing yet – the proposal would need a 75% majority board vote to be adopted. In 1991, Shaffner said, X/Open issued 28 specifications, 16 of them concerning interoperability. It spends more than half its time and money on interoperability and the Open Software Foundation was an important part of that strategy. Indeed, the Foundation had pledged to make OSF/2 compatible with its Portability Guide. For that reason, he says he doesn’t understand Tory’s retroactive comments… They are inconsistent with the record and with the trend. As for the Foundation’s decision to give up its million-dollar seat on the X/Open board and seek a $10,000 slot on the Independent Software Vendor Council instead, Shaffner said, the Council turned the consortium down not because the Foundation isn’t a software vendor but because it’s not an independent software vendor. Alternatively then – rather than failing to come up with some kind of a way for the two organisations to maintain a relationship as the Foundation suggested last week – representations were made for the Foundation to join the $20,000-a-company System Vendors Council, which is not concerned with the same niceties that motivate independent software vendors. This week it’s X/Open’s turn to complain that it’s had no answer. All of this talk has raised suspicions that – in addition to the money it was costing them and could little afford – the Foundation may have been anxious to drop out of X/Open because its Distributed Computing Environment interfaces would not conform to standards.