Open Software Foundation To Combine Several Technologies For Graphical User Interface

Meets Commitment to Members with Year-End Announcement

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Dec. 30, 1988 -- PRNewswire -- The Open Software Foundation (OSF) today announced that it has selected and will combine several leading graphical user interface technologies to form the user environment component (UEC) of its open operating environment. The selection is the culmination of an industry-wide solicitation and review process that began with OSF's first Request for Technology (RFT) in July.

In a letter today to members, OSF announced that its core UEC offering will be based on Digital Equipment Corps (DEC)(R) toolkit technology submission and the joint Hewlett-Packard(HP)/ Microsoft(R) submission of HP's 3-D appearance and Microsoft's Presentation Manager-compatible behavior. These technologies conform to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology X Window System(tm).

"We're extremely pleased to be making this announcement today, thereby meeting our commitment to members to announce our decision by the end of 1988," said John Paul, OSF's director of development. "OSF's open process allowed us to evaluate many technologies and combine the best to build the optimal solution for users."

"This combination of technologies will enable us to provide PC users with a familiar user interface across a broad range of computers -- from standalone personal computers to high-end graphics workstations, to powerful mainframes," said Paul. "The identification and specification of a graphical user interface is a major milestone in the development of an open, portable operating system environment."

OSF's Reguest for Technology was an open solicitation to all software and hardware vendors worldwide to submit their graphical user interface technologies for consideration and, if chosen, licensing. The RFT drew 39 responses, of which 23 conformed to the RFT's manadatory criteria. Selection of these technologies was based on technical excellence, maturity, compatibility with standards, and ability to perform in a heterogeneous network environment that may include personal computers.

A team of DEC and HP engineers, under the direction of OSF staff, will complete the development of the UEC. The complete, fully tested and supported public release will be available for shipment by the summer of 1989. "Snapshots" of the first UEC source code will be made available to OSF members by the end of January, allowing members to prototype applications and integrate the technology immediately into their products.

OSF intends to make its user interface software available in a variety of operating system environments, including the OSF/1 Operating System and UNIX(R) System V, Release 4. The UEC also will be available as an unbundled offering. Core User Environment Component

The core UEC will consist of a style guide, window manager, interface toolkit, and presentation decription language and compiler. Behavior of the core UEC will be based on the joint HP/Microsoft submission. It is compatible with a subset of the Microsoft OS/2 Presentation Manager behavior and includes extensions appropriate to powerful networked workstation environments. For the standard appearance of the core UEC, OSF has selected the 3-D appearance developed by HP.

OSF selected HP's window manager, which supports Presentation Manager behavior conventions. Specific features -- such as icon grouping -- from the DEC window manager will be added. A window manager allows the user to manipulate the layout of multiple applications on a screen.

OSF selected DEC's Applications Program Interface (API) for the core UEC, with extensions to the toolkit to support the 3-D appearance and Presentation Manager behavior. An interface toolkit is a library of graphical objects, such as menus and forms, that are useful in constructing a user interface.

OSF also selected DEC's User Interface Language (UIL), which allows an application developer to describe the presentation characteristics of the application interface. The UIL works in conjuction with the interface toolkit. Catalog Technology Program Takes Advantage of Additional Technologies

OSF also announced today the establishment of the Catalog Technology Program. The RFT process exposed several technology areas that are of interest to the membership, but are not yet appropriate for standardization. Whenever appropriate, OSF intends to make available important examples of technologies in these areas, through a Catalog Technology Program.

The Catalog Technology Program provides for the ongoing review of product-quality software in an area that is likely eventually to be included in an OSF core offering. The principal requirements for participation in this catalog are strict compatibility with the underlying core technology and a qualification review by OSF.

The Catalog Technology Program will focus initially on solutions in the User Interface Management Systems area. Dialog description languages and their relation to presentation description languages, such as UIL, are of particular interest. As a result of the RFT process, Apollo Computer Inc. and The Swedish Telecom Group submissions emerged as candidates for inclusion in the Catalog Technology Program.

Similarly, the OSF Research Institute will provide exposure to important research technologies. These technologies are either exploratory in nature or are not yet coupled to product support. Carnegie-Mellon University and Groupe Bull have submitted technologies as part of the RFT, which are candidates for the research technology distribution.

The Open Software Foundation is the first member-sponsored organization aimed at bringing global acceptance to a single standard for open software. OSF is developing and will deliver by the second half of 1989 a standard, open software environment with extensions and subsystems, using an innovative open process that solicits input and technologies from users and the industry.

Through its membership, OSF has a funding commitment of more than $120 million through 1991. Its initial devleopment will be based on technologies offered by the industry as well as its own worldwide research efforts. OSF currently has more than 70 members from 12 countries.

NOTE: X Window System is a trademark of Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

UNIX is a registered trademark of AT&T.

DEC is a registered trademark of Digital Equipment Corporation.

Microsoft is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corporation.

/CONTACT: Donna Ruane of the Open Software Foundation, 617-621-8772; or Janice Brown of Hill & Knowlton - ATD, 617-642-5907 (office) or 617-965-1846 (home), for OSF/ HW -- NE002 -- 6796 12-30-88 12:38 EST

Copyright PR Newswire 1988 wire