Leading Vendors Unify to Accelerate Open Systems

SAN FRANCISCO, CA March 23, 1994 -- Launching a new era of cooperation, worldwide open systems leaders joined together today and announced a new organization structure to accelerate and promote the specification and development of source-level open system software components.

The companies -- including AT&T Global Information Systems; Bull Worldwide Information Systems; Digital Equipment Corporation; Fujitsu Limited; Hewlett-Packard Company; Hitachi Limited; IBM Corporation; International Computers Limited (ICL); NEC Corporation; Novell, Incorporated; Siemens Nixdorf Information Systems, Inc.; Sony Corporation; SunSoft Incorporated; Transarc Corporation -- are responding to increasing customer demands for more focused efforts to develop open systems technology faster, with wider industry involvement.

Bringing together former participants of the Open Software Foundation (OSF) and UNIX International (UI), the new organization also incorporates the successful elements of the common open software environment (cose) process.  The mission of this new organization is to develop portable, interoperable, and scalable technologies for our customers.  Based on the OSF structure, the organization will initally continue to carry the name OSF, although a name change is being considered to reflect its wider scope and broader industry participation.  The new organization incorporates a multi-tier sponsorship and membership structure which has already resulted in greater industry participation.

While retaining the OSF's RFT process, Research Institute, end user and ISV memberships, and while continuing support for existing OSF technologies, the new organization will adopt a per-project sponsorship model.  It also will introduce a new pre-structured technology (PST) process, which is designed to facilitate multi-company cooperative development projects similar to those initiated under the cose process. Both the per-project funding and PST will benefit the industry by increasing the number of projects initiated and reducing the time for completion, enabling vendors to offer customers more new open systems products faster.

Key to the success of the organization are the support and participation of the end user and software development communities. Through increased opportunities for participation in the requirements process, project selection, on-going project reviews, and through a representative on the Board, users and software developers will have a stronger voice in the open systems process.

The unification represented by this announcement provides benefits for all participants.  For vendors, the new processes and structure offer increased efficiencies and expanded capacity for cooperative component technology development projects.  Each project will yield a single specification, simplifying portability and support for software developers.  Ultimately, end users will benefit from the accelerated delivery of portable, scalable, interoperable open systems solutions. Bringing all of these communities together in a forum where the principles of open systems can thrive, this organization ushers in a new era of cooperation.