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Collaborative Effort to Yield Version 3 of the Single UNIX Specification

MENLO PARK, Calif. (16 July , 1999) – The Open Group, a leading consortium dedicated to enterprise integration, and The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), Inc., announced today an agreement for joint development of a common revision to the existing Portable Operating System Interface (POSIX) and UNIX specifications.

Under this agreement, The Open Group and IEEE will share joint copyright of the resulting work.   The work will replace the existing IEEE Std 1003.1, 1996 version, IEEE Standard for POSIX--Part 1: System Application: Program Interface (API) [C Language], and IEEE Std 1003.2, 1992 version, IEEE Standard for POSIX--Part 2: Shell and Utilities, and The Open Group Base specifications for the Single UNIX Specification.  It is expected that the joint work will also be put forward for adoption by the International Electrotechnical Comission (IEC) and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).

This unique collaboration, informally known as the Austin Common Revision Standards Group, combines the formal standards process with the industry specifications for the UNIX system.  The resulting document set will replace the existing POSIX.1, POSIX.2 and become the core of Version 3 of the Single UNIX Specification.

“This (agreement) offers significant benefits to the industry and to end users.  The IEEE POSIX specifications and the UNIX specification are significant foundations for today’s IT systems.  By combining the two, the industry is assured of this solid foundation continuing, preserving the high value of investments associated with software systems,” stated Judith Gorman, Managing Director of IEEE Standards.

“The aim for the revision project is to write once, adopt everywhere,” said Andrew Josey, Chair, of the Austin Group.  “Participation in the project presently includes over 120 individuals from over 50 companies, including representatives from the commercial system vendors, the Open Source community, government and academia.”

The joint revision of standard is anticipated to be finalized in the first quarter of 2001.   The first draft specifications are now available from The Open Group web site at URL: http://www.opengroup.org/austin/login.html.  Detailed information about the project is found at http:/www.opengroup.org/austin/

The Austin Common Revision Standards Group has received widespread industry support for its efforts. 

“Compaq has always been a leading advocate of industry standards, is playing an active role in the Austin Common Revision Standards Group effort, and is committed to ensuring that Compaq Tru64 UNIX remains open standards-compliant,” said Tim Yeaton, Vice President and General Manager, UNIX Software Division, Compaq Computer Corporation.  “Participation in this initiative underscores our commitment to open standards, and helping our customers maintain their investment in existing applications.  This effort is going to substantially increase the pace at which corporate customers adopt UNIX as the IT platform for enterprise applications,” Yeaton added.

“Development of these key industry standards continues to provide the necessary freedom of choice in selection of systems from competing suppliers both today and, more importantly tomorrow,” said Denis Brown, Vice President, General Manager, Litton PRC and Chair of the Governing Board of The Open Group.

“The Linux Standard Base is pleased to be contributing to the Austin Group.  POSIX is an important factor behind the success of Linux and the Austin Group update is needed to underpin the future of Linux and other POSIX operating systems,” said Dan Quinlan, Linux Standard Base.

“Canada has been and continues to be a strong supporter of this work through our participation via the Standards Council of Canada in ISO/IEC JTC1/SC22/WG15.  We look forward to the publication of this important work in the very near future,” said Doug Langlotz, the Standards Council of Canada.

“Softway Systems has long supported the ongoing work of the IEEE POSIX standards, and their adoption by The Open Group into the Single UNIX Specification,” said Jason Zions, Chief Scientist, Softway Systems and Chair of the IEEE POSIX Working Group for System Services.  “These documents form the basis for the INTERIX environment on Windows NT and Windows 2000.  We look forward to continuing our participation to ensure a common programming environment exists between Windows NT and all Linux and UNIX systems.”

“Lack of true source level portability is one of the highest hidden costs in software development, and this agreement is a substantial step towards reducing that cost.   Producing a single, coherent, reference work for application developers that will be implemented not just on traditional UNIX platforms but on numerous others, including LINUX (tm) and Windows NT (tm), is something our 8,000 members have long demanded'.” said -Nick Stoughton, Standards Representative at Usenix Association.

The Open Group has been the custodian of the specification for the UNIX system and the trademark since 1993.  The effort that led to this transfer was the catalyst for all vendors to make their systems conform to this single definition, a goal that had been elusive in previous harmonization efforts.  Today all the major vendors support the Single UNIX Specification and have registered product.  For information on registered products see http://www.opengroup.org/regproducts/.


The IEEE is the world's largest technical professional society.  The members and volunteers of the IEEE are the technical and scientific professionals making the revolutionary engineering advances that are reshaping our world today.  This includes the development of leading-edge, electronic and information technology standards used throughout industry.


The Open Group is committed to delivering greater business efficiency by bringing together buyers and suppliers of information systems to lower the cost and risks associated with integrating new technology across the enterprise.  The Open Group, a vender and technology-neutral consortium, ensures that multi-vendor information technology matches the demands and needs of customers.  This is achieved through the development and deployment of frameworks, polices, best practices and standards in pursuit of the group’s IT DialTone vision --- the concept of making all technology as open and accessible as using a telephone.

By leveraging the expertise of its sponsors – Compaq (NSYE: CPQ), Fujitsu, HP (NYSE: HWP), Hitachi (TSE:6501), IBM (NYSE: IBM), NCR (NYSE: NCR), Siemens, Sun (NASDAQ: SUNW) - and other members comprising leading software companies, Fortune 500 users and government departments, The Open Group is well on its way to achieving the DialTone vision. Embracing the maxim: "we can do so much more together than alone", The Open Group is helping its members to stay ahead in the race to use technology to gain competitive advantage.  Additional information about The Open Group is available at the consortium’s web site at http://www.opengroup.org.


Note to editors: UNIX is a registered trademark and IT DialTone and The Open Group are trademarks of The Open Group in the US and other countries. POSIX is a registered trademark of the IEEE.  All other products or company names mentioned are used for identification purposes only, and may be trademarks of their respective owners. The Austin Common Revision Standards Group is named after the location of the inaugural meeting held at the IBM facility in Austin, Texas in September 1998.