FOUNDATION CONTACT: Deborah Siegel
Cohn & Wolfe
... Apollo, Groupe Bull, Digital Equipment, Hewlett-Packard, IBM,
Nixdorf, Siemens ...
NEW FOUNDATION TO ADVANCE SOFTWARE STANDARDS,
DEVELOP AND PROVIDE OPEN SOFTWARE ENVIRONMENT
NEW YORK, N.Y., May 17, 1988---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(tm) and POSIX*
specifications as the starting point. POSIX is an operating system
standard, closely related to the UNIX(tm) system, that specifies how
software should be written to run on computers from different vendors.
Initial funding for OSF is being provided by the following sponsors:
Apollo Computer Inc., Groupe Bull, Digital Equipment Corporation,
Hewlett-Packard Company, International Business Machines Corporation,
Nixdorf Computer AG, and Siemens Aktiengesellschaft. OSF membership
is available to computer hardware and software suppliers, educational
institutions, and government agencies around the world.
The foundation has a management organization, staff, and a funding
comittment 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 enviornment 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."
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
Principles of the foundation include:
* Offerings based on relevant industry standards;
* Open process to actively solicit inputs and technology;
* Timely, vendor-neutral decision process;
* Early and equal access to specifications and continuing
* Hardware independant applications;
* Reasonable, stable licensing terms;
* Technical innovation through university/research participation.
To support its portable application environment, the foundation will
provide software that makes it easier for users to mix and match
computers and appllications from different suppliers by addressing the
* Portability---the ability to use application software on computers
from multiple vendors.
* Interoperability---the ability to have computers from different
vendors work together;
* Scalability---the ability to use the same software environment on
many classes of computers, from personal computers to
To achieve maximum acceptance for the new software environment, the
foundation will provide all members early and equal access to the
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
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.
Software environment guidelines
The foundation's open software environment will allow vendors to add
value through compatible extensions. To encourage its widespread use,
it will run on a wide range of single- and multi-processor computers.
THe foundation's software environment includes a set of application
programming interfaces 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
* Apollo's Network Computing System(tm) (NCS)
* Bull's UNIX system-based multiprocessor architecture;
* Digital's user interface tool kit and style guides for the
X Window System(tm)
* Hewlett-Packard's National Language Support (NLS);
* Nixdorf's relational database technology;
* Siemens' OSI protocol support.
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(tm) 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
X/Open is a trademark of X/Open CO. Ltd.
* Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Standard
UNIX is a registered trademark of AT&T in the U.S. and other
Network Computing System is a trademark of Apollo Computer, Inc.
X Window System is a trademark of Massachusetts Institute of
AIX is a trademark of International Business Machines Corporation.