The Open Brand Problem Reporting and Interpretations System
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This is an edited extract from The
Practical Guide to the Open Brand
Errors or ambiguities may be discovered in the specifications or formal standards referred to in Product Standards. Acknowledgement by The Open Group of such errors or ambiguities results in Interpretations (see http://www.opengroup.org/interpretations) and Corrigenda (see http://www.opengroup.org/corrigenda). A searchable database of all problem reports resulting in interpretations and waivers is available at http://www.opengroup.org/openbrand/PR.
Errors may also be found in the test suites referenced in Product Standards. Acknowledgement by The Open Group of such errors results in Test Suite Deficiencies (TSDs), which are reported on The Open Group web site at http://www.opengroup.org/openbrand/PR/. Test Suite Deficiencies will usually be fixed in subsequent releases of the test suite affected.
Errors may also be discovered in the implementation of the product being registered. Under certain conditions, The Open Group may grant Temporary Waivers, categorized as a Minor System Fault (MSF), where the impact on users is deemed to be minor. This allows Product Registration to proceed.
An additional category not shown is for handling any problems encountered in the Certification Systems themselves , this is known as a Certification System Deficiency (CSD).
The relationship between Interpretations, Test Suite Deficiencies, and
Temporary Waivers is shown in the figure. In most cases the first indication
of a problem arises when there is a discrepancy in the test report when
running the test suite against a product. The applicant is advised to
check the published list of Interpretations and Test Suite Deficiencies
before proceeding. The problem is reported to The Open Group, which determines
the outcome (see
Interpretations of Specifications will never result in product behavior that was previously considered to be conformant being declared non-conformant. Interpretations may only result in product behavior that was previously considered to be non-conformant being declared to be conformant. Permanent Interpretations refer to the Specifications or standards, not to products. Any Product Registration application may refer to Permanent Interpretations to resolve discrepancies in test reports or to support the application in any other way, irrespective of the origin of the Interpretation request.
The Open Group issues Corrigenda where there are material errors in the referenced Specifications. Interpretations relating to the Specifications and published Corrigenda overlap, although the former is specifically related to Product Registration. At the time of Product Registration or at renewal, vendors should check for the presence of Corrigenda to Specifications. Corrigenda are published alongside the publication details on The Open Group web site at http://www.opengroup.org/corrigenda.
In areas of the Specifications that either replicate or reference other standards, Interpretations of Specifications are in effect Interpretations of the other standards. In these areas, the relevant standards organization will be contacted and involved, but to avoid unnecessary delay and inconvenience to the applicant, The Open Group at its sole discretion may issue a Temporary Interpretation.
The Open Group will submit a request for an Interpretation of the underlying standard to the standards body involved, and will include the rationale by which The Open Group decided to grant the Temporary Interpretation. The Open Group will deal likewise in handling Interpretations relating to specifications from other organizations referenced in Product Standards. Temporary Interpretations remain in force until the standards or controlling body delivers an Interpretation.
If the standards or controlling body delivers an Interpretation that
is in line with a Temporary Interpretation, then the Temporary Interpretation
will be converted to a Permanent Interpretation. If the standards body
delivers an Interpretation that is in conflict with a Temporary Interpretation,
then the Temporary Interpretation will be withdrawn and a Temporary Waiver
issued with a normal 12-month lifetime (see
The Open Group at its sole discretion may, on application from a licensee, agree that a test suite has an identified deficiency, provided that the evidence supporting the request substantiates the claim.
Test laboratories will be required to continue to use the suspect portion of the test suite in all circumstances, but, when a failure is reported, will be able to determine the applicability of the Test Suite Deficiency to the case in hand. This means that the suspect portion of the test suite is effectively withdrawn only in those circumstances where it falsely reports failure.
Test Suite Deficiencies will be permanent against the particular version of the test suite to which they apply, and will automatically give rise to test suite bug reports. Bugs will normally be fixed within the test suite maintenance cycle.
On a case by case basis, the Open Group may on quality grounds require the application of a patch or "work around", as an alternative to granting a TSD. This is not common and depends on the significance of the tests effected. While there can be no hard and fast rules as to when The Open Group will require the use of a patch or work around, a typical case would be where one or more testsets give incomplete or spurious results, and a correcting patch or work around can be made available within five working days. A work around is specific to an individual customer and should be reflected by an entry in the "modifications applied" section of the test report.
Where there are a limited number of implementation errors and these are demonstrated to be of a minor nature, with negligible impact on interoperability or portability, The Open Group at its sole discretion may issue Temporary Waivers which allow Product Registration to proceed. These are categorized as a Minor System Fault (MSF).
Temporary Waivers are valid for 12 months, after which time the errors must have been eliminated from the Registered Product for which the Temporary Waiver has been granted. Since Temporary Waivers are granted only at the discretion of The Open Group, an applicant does not know in advance whether or not a Temporary Waiver will be granted in any particular instance. Applicants are therefore warned not to rely on being able to register a product as long as there is a Temporary Waiver application pending for that product.
In order to minimize the variation in acceptance and rejection criteria, The Open Group will, at the request of an applicant following a refusal of a Temporary Waiver request, allow for Anonymous Review by an expert group. Where The Open Group has already sought the advice of an expert group during initial analysis, the applicant will be so notified.
Suppliers of Registered Products must make details of Temporary Waivers available. The requirement to make public the technical details of a temporary waiver may influence the wording used when completing the Temporary Waiver request. The Conformance Statement will identify whether there are any Temporary Waivers against the product.
At annual renewal of the Product Registration, The Open Group requires the licensee to supply proof that the error condition covered by any expired Temporary Waivers has been cleared. A licensee must correct errors and make available a maintenance release incorporating the necessary corrections within the 12-month period, and must ensure that all subsequent shipments of the product under the Open Brand incorporate the corrections.
All requests for Temporary Waivers will be dealt with on their individual merits. Not more than one Temporary Waiver will be issued to a vendor for an identical failure. Other vendors with identical failures to published Temporary Waivers may also be granted Temporary Waivers, but they are valid for the same period as the first published Temporary Waiver. Once expired, Temporary Waivers are not granted again.
Details of how to submit requests for Interpretations, Test Suite Deficiencies, and Temporary Waivers can be found at http://www.opengroup.org/openbrand/PR/ together with an on-line copy of the procedure to be used.
The Open Group will use reasonable efforts to respond promptly to each request for Temporary Waivers or Interpretations, regardless of whether the request is or is not to be granted. Requests will normally be processed within 20 working days of receipt. If the applicant is not satisfied with the result, Anonymous Review and Formal Appeals processes are available.
In processing an Interpretation or Temporary Waiver request, The Open Group is likely to refer the issue to an expert group (normally the group that developed or maintains the specification) for Anonymous Review. Note that the review process requires that requests be filtered prior to distribution to the appropriate review group. The filter is automatic and will remove the product and applicant sections of the form. If company or product names are placed in the sections reserved for the technical descriptions, filtering will not result in anonymity.
Applicants are encouraged to apply for Interpretations and Temporary Waivers in advance of Product Registration. Applying in advance means that the technical process of evaluation is decoupled from the administrative process of Product Registration.
With respect to the list of Interpretations that The Open Group maintains, and to the Temporary Waivers that a licensee of the Open Brand is required to make available under the terms of the Trademark License Agreement, the fact that the technical details will be made available to prospective customers may influence the choice of wording when making requests.
When a request is processed, The Open Group will inform the applicant by electronic mail of the decision quoting the reference number supplied by the applicant at the time of submission.
If an applicant wishes to dispute the refusal by The Open Group to grant a request, they may ask for an Anonymous Review by an appropriate expert group (normally the group or standards body that developed the specification). If this takes place, the application will automatically have details of applicant and product removed before being passed to the expert group for comment.
The applicant may, alternatively or subsequently, invoke a Formal Appeal. Both the Anonymous Review and the Formal Appeal processes are defined in the Trademark License Agreement. Note that if an expert group has already reviewed the request, a second review is unlikely to produce a different result.
The process of assessing requests for Interpretations, Test Suite Deficiencies, and Temporary Waivers is as follows:
If an applicant wishes to dispute the refusal by The Open Group to grant a request, they may ask for an ``anonymous review'' by an appropriate expert group (normally the group or standards body that developed the specification). If this takes place, the application will automatically have details of applicant and product removed before being passed to the expert group for comment. The applicant may, alternatively or subsequently, invoke a formal appeal. Both the anonymous review and the formal appeal processes are defined in the TMLA.
Note that if the request has already been reviewed by an expert group, a second review is unlikely to produce a different result.