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Encyclopedia > COSE

The Common Open Software Environment or COSE was an initiative formed in March 1993 by the major Unix vendors of the time to create open, unified operating system (OS) standards.[1] 1993 (MCMXCIII) was a common year starting on Friday of the Gregorian calendar and marked the Beginning of the International Decade to Combat Racism and Racial Discrimination (1993-2003). ... Unix or UNIX is a computer operating system originally developed in the 1960s and 1970s by a group of AT&T employees at Bell Labs including Ken Thompson, Dennis Ritchie, and Douglas McIlroy. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ...



The COSE process was established during a time when the "Unix Wars" had become an impediment to the growth of Unix. Microsoft, already dominant on the corporate desktop, was beginning to make a bid for two Unix strongholds: technical workstations and the enterprise data center. In addition, Novell was seeing its NetWare installed base steadily eroding in favor of Microsoft-based networks; as part of a multi-faceted approach to battling Microsoft, they had turned to Unix as a weapon, having recently formed a Unix-related partnership with AT&T known as Univel. The Unix wars were the struggles between vendors of the Unix computer operating system in the late 1980s and early 1990s to set the standard for Unix henceforth. ... The Microsoft Corporation, (NASDAQ: MSFT, HKSE: 4338) is a multinational computer technology corporation with global annual sales of US$44. ... A data center is a facility used for housing a large amount of electronic equipment, typically computers and communications equipment. ... Novell was also the name of a road bicycle racing team. ... NetWare is a network operating system and the set of network protocols it uses to talk to client machines on the network. ... AT&T Inc. ... Univel was a joint partnership of Novell and AT&Ts Unix System Laboratories (USL) that developed the UnixWare operating system. ...

Unlike other Unix unification efforts that preceded it, COSE was notable in two ways: it was not formed in opposition to another set of Unix vendors, and it was more oriented toward making standards of existing technologies than creating new offerings from scratch.

The initial members, (known as "The Big Six"), were:

These represented the significant Unix system and OS vendors of the time, as well as the holders of the Unix brand and AT&T-derived source code. They also represented almost all the key players in the two major Unix factions of the late 1980s and early 1990s, the OSF and Unix International (UI). Notable in its absence was OSF co-founder Digital Equipment Corporation; Digital did finally announce its endorsement of the COSE process the following June.[2] The Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE: HPQ), commonly known as HP, is a very large, global company headquartered in Palo Alto, California, United States. ... now. ... Tarantella, Inc. ... Sun Microsystems, Inc. ... UNIX Systems Laboratories or USL was originally organized as part of Bell Labs in 1989. ... The Open Software Foundation (OSF) was an organization founded in 1988 to create an open standard for an implementation of the Unix operating system. ... Unix International or UI was an association created in 1988 to promote open standards, especially the Unix operating system. ... Digital Equipment Corporation was a pioneering company in the American computer industry. ...

COSE's announced areas of focus were: a common desktop environment; networking; graphics; multimedia; object-based technology; and, systems management. On September 1, 1993 it was also announced that the COSE vendors were developing a unified Unix specification with the support of over 75 companies.[3] September 1 is the 244th day of the year (245th in leap years). ...

Unix standardization

Unlike OSF or UI, the COSE initiative was not tasked to create or promote a single operating system. Their approach was to instead survey and document the OS interfaces already in use by Unix software vendors of the time. This resulting list, originally known as "Spec 1170", evolved to become what is now known as the Single Unix Specification).[4] The Single UNIX Specification (SUS) is the collective name of a family of standards for computer operating systems to qualify for the name Unix. The SUS is developed and maintained by the Austin Group, based on earlier work by the IEEE and The Open Group. ...

Spec 1170 (unrelated to the SPEC benchmarking organization) was named after the results of the first COSE effort to find what Unix interfaces were actually in use; inspection of a large sample of current Unix applications uncovered 1,170 such system and library calls. As might be expected, the actual number of interfaces immediately began growing and would continue to evolve over time. The Standard Performance Evaluation Corporation (SPEC) is a non-profit organization that aims to produce fair, impartial and meaningful benchmarks for computers. ...

Management of the specification was given to X/Open. In October 1993, it was announced that the UNIX trademark, which was at that time owned by Novell, would be transferred to X/Open.[5] These developments meant that the UNIX brand was no longer tied to one source code implementation; any company could now create an OS version compliant with the UNIX specification, which would then be eligible for the UNIX brand. X/Open Company, Ltd. ...

Common Desktop Environment

Besides the opening and standardization of the UNIX brand, the most notable product of the COSE initiative was the Common Desktop Environment, or CDE. CDE was an X11-based user environment jointly developed by HP, IBM, and Sun, with an interface and productivity tools based on OSF's Motif graphical widget toolkit.[6] CDE on Unix (Solaris 8) DECwindows CDE on OpenVMS 7. ... In computing, the X Window System (commonly X11 or X) is a windowing system for bitmap displays. ... Motif (or capitalized MOTIF) is a graphical widget toolkit for building graphical user interfaces under the X Window System on UNIX and other POSIX-compliant systems. ...

Other technology areas

Although in the areas of desktop and the OS itself the COSE process was one of unification, in other announced areas, it was decided to endorse existing technologies from both camps rather than pick one. For example, the announced direction for networking was for all participants to sell, deliver and support OSF's DCE, UI's ONC+, and a NetWare client. The Distributed Computing Environment (DCE) is a software system developed in the early 1990s by a consortium that included Apollo Computer (later part of Hewlett-Packard), IBM, Digital Equipment Corporation, and others. ... aji abrahamBold textI am a student Headline text at Farmingdale. ...

Other areas were addressed in very broad terms. For object-based technology, CORBA was called out as the underlying technology, but method of implementation was left to the individual companies. In computing, Common Object Request Broker Architecture (CORBA) is a standard for software componentry, created and controlled by the Object Management Group (OMG). ...

The COSE legacy

In March 1994 UI and OSF announced their merger into a new organization, which retained the OSF name.[7] The COSE initiative became the basis of the new OSF's "Pre-Structured Technology" (PST) process.[8] These efforts in turn eventually became the responsibility of The Open Group, an entity formed by the merger of the new OSF and X/Open in 1996. 1994 (MCMXCIV) was a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar, and was designated as the International Year of the Family and the International Year of the Sport and the Olympic Ideal by United Nations. ... The Open Group is a vendor- and technology- neutral industry consortium with a vision of Boundaryless Information Flow that will enable access to integrated information within and between enterprises based on open standards and global interoperability. ... 1996 (MCMXCVI) was a leap year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar, and was designated the International Year for the Eradication of Poverty. ...

In the end, the most significant product of the COSE process was the creation of a universally-recognized single UNIX standard and an independent organization to administer it. It marked the end of Sun's OPEN LOOK graphical environment in favor of a Motif-based desktop, at the same time making the latter a standard rather than a proprietary toolkit. Although it had less impact on the other standardization areas it originally intended to address, it nonetheless had a major influence on the future of Unix extending far beyond the 12 months of its independent existence. OPEN LOOK or OpenLook was an early graphical user interface (GUI) specification developed by Sun Microsystems and AT&T in the early 1990s for UNIX workstations. ... In literature, a motif is any recurring element that has symbolic significance. ...


  1. ^ Hewlett-Packard Company, IBM Corp., The Santa Cruz Operation, SunSoft, Inc., Univel, UNIX System Laboratories, Inc. (March 17, 1993). UNIX LEADERS ANNOUNCE COMMON OPEN SOFTWARE ENVIRONMENT. Press release. Retrieved on 2006-09-01.
  2. ^ Digital Equipment Corporation (June 8, 1993). DIGITAL EQUIPMENT CORPORATION ANNOUNCES SUPPORT FOR THE COMMON OPEN SOFTWARE ENVIRONMENT PROCESS. Press release. Retrieved on 2006-09-01.
  3. ^ OSF and UI members (September 1, 1993). INDUSTRY LEADERS AGREE ON COMMON INTERFACE SPECIFICATION FOR UNIX-BASED OPERATING SYSTEMS. Press release. Retrieved on 2006-09-01.
  4. ^ The Single Unix Specification. The Open Group. Retrieved on 2006-09-01.
  5. ^ X/Open Co., Ltd. (October 11, 1993). X/Open Receives UNIX Trademark From Novell. Press release. Retrieved on 2006-09-01.
  6. ^ Hewlett-Packard Company, IBM Corporation, SunSoft, Inc., UNIX System Laboratories, Inc. (June 30, 1993). UNIX LEADERS COMPLETE FIRST RELEASE OF SPECIFICATION FOR COMMON OPEN SOFTWARE ENVIRONMENT DESKTOP. Press release. Retrieved on 2006-09-01.
  7. ^ AT&T Global Information Systems, Digital Equipment Corporation, Hewlett-Packard Company, IBM Corporation, SunSoft Incorporated, et al. (March 23, 1994). LEADING VENDORS UNIFY TO ACCELERATE OPEN SYSTEMS. Press release. Retrieved on 2006-09-01.
  8. ^ Open Software Foundation (March 23, 1994). OSF Announces Progressive New Business Model. Press release. Retrieved on 2006-09-01.



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