Unix International Announces Program Offering The Industry A Complete Open System Architecture

DALLAS, Jan. 22, 1991 -- PRNewswire -- UNIX International (UI), the association of UNIX System V vendors, users and developers, today announced a program providing the computer industry the ability to develop and offer a complete platform of standard system software components which will work in conjunction with UNIX(R) System V Release 4. UI is launching this program building on the success of Release 4 which has become the industry standard operating system. This program will define an umbrella architecture for a complete open system software environment beyond the operating system. This architecture, the Open System Architecture (OSA), will define three major computer functional segments that address the needs of the 1990s. UI will release the first of these architectural definitions in the second quarter of 1991.

OSA ensures the computer industry the right to compete in the software market for both system and application software. At the same time it promises end users the full selection of software provided by open market competition. OSA achieves this through the use of open standard interfaces, verification suites, and the resulting products from the industry rather than standardizing on a single product. These interfaces, called Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), are published sets of specifications that allow software developers to write system software and applications for OSA. They will be available to the entire computer industry.

UI's initial focus during 1991 will be on the following three major segments:

-- Distributed Computing: Addresses the end user needs for a complete networked solution for transparent data transfer and software interoperability in a heterogeneous computing environment. The architecture, functional requirements, time frames and initial technology will be available in the second 1991.

-- Corporate Hub Computing: targets mission critical applications once handled only by mainframes and now shared UNIX based servers that operate in a more cost effective manner. Corporate transaction based systems are increasingly being replaced by UNIX servers and mainframes. Architectural definition, functional requirements and initial technology will be available in 1991.

-- Desktop Computing: focuses on connecting desktop users to any service resident on the network, while allowing them to make full use of the multitasking functionality provided by System V Release 4. Architectural definition, requirements and initial technology will be available in 1991.

The process for the development of OSA is an extension of the process already used by UI. It includes UNIX International, UNIX System Laboratories (USL), and the computer industry. IT will involve the development of an architectural definition and functional requirements by UI and its members through UI's existing open decision process. These functional requirements are then handed to USL. USL will produce a reference product based on a standard API. The APIs will be developed through a series of draft APIs returned to UI and the industry for review and refinement. An API will allow system developers to produce industry compatible products for OSA.

OSA defines a process that enables the industry to provide end user choice in the market. Defined by UI and its members, this architecture contains several significant benefits:

-- Provides a process to ensure that a standard reference platform of product technology is provided to the industry. These platforms will be provided by USL under the guidance of UI and will include appropriate technology from the industry.

-- Allows for alternate implementations of product technology by the industry. API's will be released to technology providers in both draft and final form, providing system vendors the opportunity to develop or acquire competitive products in a timely fashion.

-- UI and USL will ensure a verification suite will be provided giving developers the opportunity to test their products for adherence to the API. This will ensure application compatibility regardless of the technology choice.

-- Allows ISVs to develop applications for evolving technology prior to the general availability of the technology. ISVs can develop applications based on the APIs and provide applications at the same time that the technology becomes available.

OSA will maintain compatibility with X/Open's Common Application Environment (CAE) and will allow any software developer to produce industry standard products compliant with X/Open's Portability Guide (XPGn) simply by adhering to the specifications within the API.

USL will produce the APIs in accordance with the UI requirements. USL will then either develop, acquire from the industry, or work with the industry in the production of a reference product.

UNIX International is the independent open membership organization of UNIX System V users, vendors and developers chartered to direct the continuing evolution of the UNIX System V environment. UNIX International members jointly create specifications for an open systems platform based on UNIX System V, many of which are implemented by UNIX System Laboratories Inc. (USL), a subsidiary of American Telephone and Telegraph (NYSE: T) (AT&T), producers and licensers of the UNIX System V code. An independent association formed in December 1988, membership in UNIX International is open to all organizations interested in fostering the standardization, continuing development and use of UNIX System V. The association's base of more than 200 members represents more than 80 percent of the total installed base of UNIX systems.


NOTE: UNIX is a registered trademark of UNIX System Laboratories, a subsidiary of AT&T.

CONTACT: Stephen Payne of UNIX International, 201-263-8400; or Mark Metzger or Tim Hurley of Miller Communications 617-536-0470, for UNIX International

Copyright (c) 1991, PR Newswire