Founding members of the ACE initiative and USL move to unify UNIX operating systems

Business Wire

October 10, 1991

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. -- In a major step forward for UNIX system users, the founding members of the Advanced Computing Environment (ACE) initiative and UNIX System Laboratories (USL), a subsidiary of AT&T, today announced agreement on a common set of application programming interfaces for the ACE UNIX system environment, one of the two operating system environments supported by the ACE initiative.

This unified open platform definition will enable systems based on the Open Software Foundation's OSF/1 operating system or USL's UNIX System V, Release 4, (SVR4) to provide a common set of source-compatible application interfaces, allowing developers to develop applications and be assured that they will run on all ACE UNIX system platforms.

This set of UNIX system interfaces will be available for both ACE hardware platforms -- Advanced RISC Computing (ARC)-based and x86-based systems.

Today's announcement, which goes far beyond previous agreements between supporters of SVR4 and OSF/1, is expected to encourage greater participation by a broader range of UNIX system and software vendors in the ACE initiative. To date, the ACE initiative includes more than 200 members. ACE products based on this unified open platform definition will be available to users in 1992.

As part of this effort, USL has announced today that it is joining the ACE initiative and will ensure that its ACE SVR4-based product family supports the same set of interfaces which include the Open Software Foundation's (OSF) Application Environment Specification (AES) for the operating system, Motif graphical user interface, and Distributed Computing Environment (DCE).

In addition, Compaq Computer Corp. and USL, in cooperation with The Santa Cruz Operation Inc. (SCO), are working to propose to the ACE initiative UNIX vendors a common application interface specification for a desktop manager.

``USL will continue its efforts to make UNIX System V Release 4 a commercial success on all mass market platforms, including ARC and x86,'' said Larry Dooling, president of UNIX System Laboratories. ``As part of the ACE initiative, USL will help ACE vendors demonstrate to end users that the UNIX system is the most powerful, most exciting, most cost-effective environment for computing at every level of an enterprise.''

``SCO is continuing its work with Digital to deliver an SCO Open Desktop implementation which complies with these specifications,'' said Larry Michels, president of The Santa Cruz Operation. ``We are happy with the progress we are making to deliver an OSF/1-based product as announced in the original ACE announcement.''

On April 9, 1991, ACE initiative members agreed to a standard set of application interfaces critical to users and developers of distributed applications. These include the OSF AES for the operating system; POSIX 1003.1; X/Open XPG3; USL's SVID Issue 2 and OSF's Motif graphical user interface.

Today the founding members of the ACE initiative and USL are expanding this list to include USL's SVID Issue 3 base and kernel extensions; OSF's Distributed Computing Environment (DCE); a common installation procedure and the new standard 3D graphics environment consisting of the IRIS Graphics Library, ISO PHIGS, PEX and X11. The ACE founding members and USL have also agreed to adopt the following interfaces as specifications become finalized: OSF's Distributed Management Environment (DME); POSIX 1003.4 and a common desktop manager.

``Just as the Advanced RISC Computing or ARC specification allows for compatibility while permitting innovation with the company-specific hardware implementations, we have now created a specification for the UNIX software environment that allows innovation in ACE UNIX operating systems offerings,'' said Gary Stimac, senior vice president, systems engineering, Compaq Computer Corp. ``This agreement helps to fulfill the goals established by the ACE initiative in April. A unified UNIX system environment that supports both OSF/1 and SVR4 will encourage the development of a greater number of applications since software developers are being provided a single application programming interface.''

``The ACE initiative has provided the forum for an unprecedented degree of cooperation among key UNIX industry leaders for the benefit of end users and ISVs,''said Dom LaCava, vice president, UNIX Systems and Software, Digital Equipment Corp. ``The agreement annouced today is completely consistent with our existing UNIX software strategy and it reaffirms our commitment to delivering product based on the OSF technology roadmap.''

``MIPS is very pleased that through the efforts of the ACE initiative membership, the UNIX system will effectively be unified for the ACE platforms,'' said Robert C. Miller, chairman and CEO, MIPS Computer Systems. ``This is another milestone in the ACE intiative's efforts to unite the industry in order to best serve the customer.''

``The computer industry has battled for years over UNIX system interfaces, hurting both software developers and customers,'' said Thomas Jermoluk, executive vice president of Silicon Graphics Inc. ``With this announcement, ACE has taken a huge step forward in ending the UNIX wars by setting a common application portability standard. USL and OSF can now implement to common ACE interface.''

The ACE initiative, announced by Compaq Computer Corp., Digital Equipment Corp., Microsoft Corp., MIPS Computer Systems, and the Santa Cruz Operation Inc. in April 1991, was founded to create a new industry-standard Advanced Computing Environment encompassing computing platforms based on either of two microprocessor families (the MIPS R3000, R4000 and Intel x86) and supporting two advanced operating system environments.

USL, a subsidiary of AT&T headquartered in Summit, N.J., develops and markets UNIX system software to the worldwide computer industry.

Technical API Specifications

For ACE UNIX-Compatible Operating Systems INTERFACE SPECIFICATIONS X/OPEN XPG/3 Volume 1,2,3 POSIX 1003.1 USL SVID Issue 3, Base and Kernel OSF AES Operating System Programming Interfaces, Volume A BSD, 4.3 network programming interface (sockets) OSF AES Distributed Computimg Programming Interfaces (Executive Component), Volume A IRIS Graphics Library 5.0 ISO PHIGS and PEX OSF AES User Environment Programming Interfaces, Volume B (Motif 1.1) X11, Release 4.0 or later INTEROPERABILITY STANDARDS DOS file formats TCP/IP NFS DATA FORMATS Standard Application Installation Formats and Procedures FUTURE INTERFACE SPECIFICATION -- TO BE INCLUDED WHEN FINALIZED OSF AES Distributed Management Programming Interfaces, Volume A POSIX 1003.4 Desktop Manager Interfaces

CONTACT: ACE Press Information: Barbara Kohn McGlinchey & Paul, 415/903-2202 08:07 ET

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