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Practical Guide to the Open Brand
Copyright © 2002 The Open Group

Product Standards


A Product Standard is a precisely defined and documented set of functionality to which products can be certified under the Open Brand Program. It provides a mapping between certification, the specifications, and the test suites needed to demonstrate conformance.

Each Product Standard describes its purpose, gives detailed technical conformance requirements, and identifies specific testing requirements that must be satisfactorily completed. Where appropriate it may also highlight important information that has to be included in the Conformance Statement (see Conformance Statements).

Most of the detailed requirements for conformance to Product Standards are usually identified by reference to other documents rather than being defined in the Product Standard itself. All such references are precisely stated such that the referenced documents are clearly and uniquely identified (title, version number, date, and so on). Conformance is to a specific version of an identified document and a Product Standard is not automatically updated when a newer version of the document (specification or standard) is released. Where conformance is only to specific parts of a document, the relevant parts are clearly identified. The relationship between the various documents is shown in Relationships between Documents.

Figure: Relationships between Documents

The current set of Product Standards is listed at, where links to the full text of each Product Standard can be found.

Key Concepts

Product Standards are central to the Open Brand Program. They are the single reference points linking the referenced specifications and standards, any other Product Standards, and the test suites and other conformance requirements. The Conformance Statement for each Certified Product states precisely how the product satisfies the requirements of the Product Standard.

Certified Products are dependent upon services typically provided by the operating system software and hardware. In some cases a Certified Product may be completely independent of any operating system, but may require some other kind of service such as a communication service. The Product Standard therefore states these dependencies and specifies the Operational Environment within which the Certified Product runs.

Portability is associated with the ease with which a system, application, data, or user can be transferred from one environment to another.

Software applications may rely on Application Program Interfaces (APIs) provided by the Certified Product. These Portability Interfaces provide one level of portability, allowing for the same software application to work with different products certified as conformant to the same Product Standard.

Software applications that use the defined Portability Interfaces often require direct access to services other than those provided by the Certified Product. The Portability Environment defined in the Product Standard establishes the overall environment required for software portability.

The relationship between the Operational Environment required for the Certified Product, the Portability Interface provided by the Certified Product, and the Portability Environment required by the (application) software is shown in Environments and Interfaces.

Figure: Environments and Interfaces

Interoperability, in its fullest sense, means the ability of application processes meaningfully to exchange information and services regardless of physical location, network topology, and the vagaries of computer architectures.

In the context of the Open Brand Program, the concept means the provision of services and protocols that support the interoperability of applications to the extent defined by the Product Standard. End-to-end interoperability invariably requires correct configuration of the end systems and all other network elements.


Each Product Standard is defined under a set of headings, listed below. However, readers should note that the structure of the Product Standard might vary with additional or alternative headings used as necessary.


The formal name of the Product Standard.

Label for Logo

The label or "text field" used in association with the "X" Device to form the Brand logo, as defined in the Trademark Usage Guide. Where there is a family of Product Standards the label will reflect the "family" name; otherwise, there will be no label and the "X" Device will be used on its own.


A brief but precise description of the nature and purpose of the Product Standard with relevant background material and a clear statement of how it differs from other similar Product Standards.

Conformance Requirements

This, the main section of the Product Standard, is a definition of all the implementation conformance requirements that must be met by a product for certification under the Open Brand Program. Conformance requirements are addressed with respect to the human-computer interface, portability, and interoperability. These attributes are discussed in more detail below.

Operational Environment

A definition of the environment or set of environments within which the functionality identified by the Product Standard can be employed.

Portability Environment

The Portability Environment primarily concerns application portability and is used to constrain usage of the Certified Product to specific services or environments. It defines interfaces or services that must be available to each source program in addition to those of the product itself. They are often defined in terms of an additional Product Standard (or set of alternative Product Standards) to which the product, or configuration of products, must also be certified as conformant.

Overriding Standards

Identifies the formal standard(s) to which the Product Standard defers. It is the intention of The Open Group that products conforming to Product Standards should also conform to overlapping formal standards, and therefore the Product Standard defers to the relevant formal standard.

It should be noted that deference is to a particular identified version of a formal standard upon which the Product Standard was built-the Product Standard does not automatically defer to later versions of the same standard.

Any discrepancies between the Product Standard, the specification, and the formal standard(s) are unintentional. In such cases the formal standard is deemed to be superior and there is therefore no conflict, either for an implementor or a buyer, in requiring conformance to both the Product Standard and the formal standard at the same time. For the buyer, simply stating that the Open Brand is required ensures that the relevant standards conformance is achieved.

Indicators of Compliance

Identifies one or more designated test suites that must be used during conformance testing (see Testing Requirements and Indicators of Compliance for more detail). Where no designated test suite is specified at the time the Product Standard is published, the Indicators of Compliance section is marked accordingly. You should check for any updates to the test suites. No test suite can ever ensure conformance; the test suites are therefore known as Indicators of Compliance.


A short summary of the issues, if any, concerned with migration to the Product Standard. The primary focus is the migration of applications, but information on other aspects may be provided where appropriate.

Attributes Associated with Conformance Requirements

To conform to a Product Standard, a product (or product configuration) must conform to all of the attributes that are defined for that Product Standard. Some of the key attributes include:

Note that a Product Standard may refer to a subset of the key attributes as appropriate.

The following paragraphs explain what it means for a product (or product configuration) to conform to each attribute of a Product Standard. The first statement associated with each attribute identifies its purpose, and the second how it is achieved.

In cases where one of these attributes is not relevant, or not specified, the Product Standard explicitly says so using a phrase such as "not applicable" or "none" where appropriate.

All conformance requirements must involve a stimulus and result. The same stimulus must produce the same well-defined result on all conformant systems. For APIs this is explicitly the case, as the definition of an API call states what the result of calling it will be, but for the other aspects too it is important that there are clearly defined causes and effects. It is not sufficient, for example, for a Product Standard just to require that a particular protocol be supported. It must be set into a cause and effect context-use of the protocol must be associated with specific well-defined functionality and behavior within the product.

Detailed conformance requirements are expressed by any combination of:

The Open Group Standards Information Base is the formal repository for specifications and standards that have been adopted by The Open Group, and is available at

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