New Foundation to Advance Software Standards, Develop and Provide Open Software Environment

NEW YORK, May 17, 1988 -- PRNewswire -- Seven leading computer companies today announced an international foundation to develop and provide a completely open software environment to make it easier for customers to use computers and software from many vendors.

The Open Software Foundation (OSF) will develop a software environment, including application interfaces, advanced system extensions and a new operating system, using X/Open and POSIX specifications as the starting point. POSIX is an operating system standard, closely related to the UNIX system, that specifies how software should be written to run on computers form different vendors.

Initial funding for OSF is being provided by the following sponsors: Apollo Computer Inc., Groupe Bull, Digital Equipment Corp., Hewlett-Packard Co., International Business Machines Corp., Nixdorf Computer AG and Siemans Aktiengesellschaft. OSF membership is available to computer hardware and software suppliers, educational institutions, government agencies and organizations around the world.

The foundation has a management organization, staff, and a funding commitment in excess of $90 million to begin immediate operations. Its initial development will be based on technologies offered by the members and its own research, to be carried out worldwide.

"The creation of a standard software environment is one of the most important issues facing the computer industry today," said John L. Doyle, chairman of the foundation board of directors. "Establishing this international foundation fulfills the critical need for an open, rational and equitable process to help establish the standards our customers demand and to protect their long-term software investment."

Foundation Principles OSF is incorporated as a non-profit, industry-supported research and development organization. It will define specifications, develop a leadership operating system, and promote an open, portable application environment.

Principles of the foundation include:

To support its portable application environment, the foundation will provide software that makes it easier for users to mix and match computers and applications from different suppliers by addressing the following needs:

To achieve maximum acceptance for the new software environment, the foundation will provide all members early and equal access to the development process.

The foundation will follow a direction consistent with the international X/Open Common Application Environment, the U.S. National Bureau of Standards Application Portability Profile, and equivalent European and international standards. Where standards do not exist, the foundation will work with standards groups to help define them.

Foundation members will contribute ideas on both technical and policy matters. They will be informed of foundation activities on a regular basis and periodically polled on specific issues. Membership is open to everyone.

A research institute is being created to fund research for the advancement of applications portability, interoperability standards and other advanced technologies for future foundation use. An academic advisory panel will provide guidance and input to the institute. The institute's research will be conducted worldwide.

The foundation's open software environment will allow vendors to add value through compatible extension. To encourage its widespread use it will run on a wide range of single and multi-proces sor computers. The Foundation's software environment includes a set of application programming interfaced to make it easier to write applications for a variety of systems. The initial set of interfaces will support POSIX and X/Open specifications, and will be extended to include areas such as distributed computing, graphics, and user interfaces.

The foundation will base its development efforts on its own research as well as on technologies which will be selected and licensed from member offerings. Technologies being considered by the foundation include:

To provide a clear and easy migration path for application developers and end users, the foundation's system will include features to support current System V- and Berkeley-based UNIX applications. The operating system will use core technology from a future version of IBM's AIX as a development base.

Specifications supported by the foundation will be publicly available, and a set of verification tests for all appropriate facilities will be identified or created. The foundation will license its open system software internationally.

/CONTACT: Deborah Siegel of Cohn & Wolfe, 212-951-8300; Jim Barbagallo of Apollo, 617-256-6600 x4453; Stephanie Wahlen of Groupe Bull, 617-890-5200; Ed Canty of Digital Equipment, 617-467-5164; Gene Endicott of Hewlett-Packard, 415-857-4220; David McGory of IBM, 914-934-4839; Mark Metzger of Nixdorf, 617-536-0470; Thomas J. Keller of Siemens, 212-303-9207/

Copyright PR Newswire 1988 wire