Path: gmdzi!unido!mcsun!uunet!longway!std-unix
Newsgroups: comp.std.unix
Subject: Standards Update, IEEE 1201: User Interface
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Date: 29 Mar 90 17:56:18 GMT
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Approved: (Moderator, John S. Quarterman)
Posted: Thu Mar 29 18:56:18 1990

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            An Update on UNIX* and C Standards Activities

                             January 1990

                 USENIX Standards Watchdog Committee

                   Jeffrey S. Haemer, Report Editor

IEEE 1201: User Interface Update

Peter H. Salus  reports on the January 8-12, 1990
meeting in New Orleans, LA:

What's happening?

P1201 purports to concern itself with the user interface.  As of the
New Orleans meeting, P1201 comprised .1 (Applications Programming
Interface), .2 (Graphical User Interface), .3 (Human-Computer
Interaction), and .4 (XLib) subgroups.

Working backwards through these, 1201 has recommended that XLib go to
ballot directly, a proposal which seems to have so shocked the SEC
that they put off deciding on balloting till April.  Steve Jobs told
the USENIX audience in Phoenix, in June 1987, that X was ``brain-
damaged''.  Whether that's true or not, X has won, and just putting
XLib to a vote makes good sense.

1201.3, under the chairmanship of Richard Seacord, has had a number of
interesting discussions and presentations (of which I attended
several, though not all).  The major problem here is that we are
nowhere near knowing what the ``standard'' for an interface might
really require.  However, the explorations are valuable, and a forum
like this can be informative.

This leaves me with the GUI and the API.  Both in Brussels and in New
Orleans were skirmishes in the GUI wars: battalions of employees of
OSF its member companies arrayed in opposition to those of UI or USO
and theirs, with a pair of observers from NeXT and Apple taking and
placing bets on the sidelines.

I assure readers that have never attended these meetings, acrimonious
backbiting and vituperation are the order of the day in both camps.
Though a former employee of OSF, I wouldn't hesitate to condemn the
behavior of both sides, but the blame rests elsewhere.  Where?  In the
tourists.  See below, but for my money, too many folks like to travel
and too many people have caught the ``open systems/open standards'' bug.


  * UNIX is a registered trademark of AT&T in the U.S. and other

January 1990 Standards Update                IEEE 1201: User Interface

                                - 2 -

So long as the market remains unsettled about Motif, NeXTStep, OPEN
LOOK, and Presentation Manager (to say nothing of Apple's MacIntosh
interface and IBM's CUA) [Editor: That's ``Common User Application'',
a part of SAA.], the meetings of 1201.1 and 1201.2 will serve as
tilting grounds, not occasions for useful discussion.

>From my point of view, until the market (which means the big boys and
the users) has a shake-out, .1 and .2 can only serve as debate
platforms or end up recommending standards that are either the
intersection of OPEN LOOK and Motif or their union.  It might be that
.2 can come to some sort of conclusion on the various style guides
without .1, but I see the products being waved, not the function

Why is it turning out this way?

All of this is prologue (``The past is prologue,'' writes Shakespeare
in The Tempest) to a commentary on the TCOS-standards industry.
[Editor: TCOS, the Technical Committee on Operating Systems, is the
IEEE organization under which both 1201 and 1003 fall.]

Over the past 40 years, ISO has approved or accepted over 20,000
standards, which concern almost everything imaginable from hockey
masks to medical prostheses to the hinging of radar masts on inland-
waterway vessels.  The standards have arisen in a variety of ways,
most emanating from one of the regional or 70-odd national standards
bodies.  Typically, it has taken from four to ten years to progress
from raising a committee to approving a standard.  The result of this
has been general agreement within the concerned industry prior to the
issuance of an international standard.  Wall plugs are an excellent
example of what happens when the engineers and bureaucrats issue a
standard without industry consensus.

I am far from convinced that the ever-increasing number of 1003 and
1201 (sub)committees is productive or useful, and embarrassed and
appalled at their continuing proliferation.  There are currently at
least six or seven standards for diskettes.  Do we really need that
many for graphical user interfaces?  I think not.  Might we get what
happened in the record industry (i.e., 45s for short cuts; 33s for
long works and anthologies) if we wait?  I think so.

Moreover, does the standards process really require more than two or
three folks per company?  There were 38 in attendance at the ISO/IEC
Joint Technical Committee on Application Portability meeting in
September (including the secretariat); there were nearly 300 in New
Orleans.  My perception is that going to a POSIX meeting is a perk.
Holding the meetings in Hawaii, New Orleans, and Snowbird does little
to dissuade me.  The New Orleans host was OSF; the Snowbird host is
Unisys.  Though the new Unisys is a big entity, I didn't realize they
had a site in Snowbird; nor OSF one in New Orleans.

January 1990 Standards Update                IEEE 1201: User Interface

                                - 3 -

C'mon, lets get back to work, not meetings for the holiday or for the
sake of meetings.  1003.1 did good, solid work.  Some of the other
groups are doing work, too.  Partying ain't part of it.  Bah!

January 1990 Standards Update                IEEE 1201: User Interface

Volume-Number: Volume 19, Number 34

			  SCO's Case Against IBM

November 12, 2003 - Jed Boal from Eyewitness News KSL 5 TV provides an
overview on SCO's case against IBM. Darl McBride, SCO's president and CEO,
talks about the lawsuit's impact and attacks. Jason Holt, student and 
Linux user, talks about the benefits of code availability and the merits 
of the SCO vs IBM lawsuit. See SCO vs IBM.

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