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News

  • Orion Health scores five year software deal in Singapore

    NZX-listed health software company, Orion Health (NZX: OHE) has scored a five year deal for deployment in Singapore of a healthcare enterprise service bus underpinned by its interoperability product, the Rhapsody Integration Engine.

  • Geoscience Australia opens up access to spatial data

    Geoscience Australia is embracing international geospatial standards and integrated Web platforms to share spatial data in an open environment. The focus is on interoperability, says the agency’s lead data scientist, Danielle Beaudreau.

  • Cloud computing needs better security, interoperability

    A growing number of industry players are saying if cloud computing is to move beyond the hype cycle, vendors need to put aside their differences and agree on common principles related to security and the interoperability of cloud platforms.

  • Unix - IT should ask for it by name

    What is Unix? I've known Unix long enough to know that the trademark and industry usage want the name rendered in all capital letters (UNIX), although many publications (mine included) don't like it that way. Having written about Unix for a couple of decades, I've come to take for granted that everyone knows what Unix is. Certainly, no one would ask me what Unix is. I get jabbed all the time to define Linux (kernel) whenever I use the term, and I've been asked why I don't refer to Intel Macs as PCs (proprietary platform). But nobody has ever noticed me refer to Unix and written to say, "What do you mean, Unix?"
    I wish someone had. Figuring that the economy would make Unix vendors the ready pan of market analysts praying to get something right, I had in mind to write a sort of You Don't Know Unix column. The trouble with an in-your-face headline like that, is that it turns embarrassing when the author has to admit he couldn't meet his own challenge. The simple question I asked myself one recent morning became the deep thought into late the following afternoon. I had all kinds of clever things to say in defence of Unix, but none of it was relevant to IT, and IT deserves a relevant look at Unix as something other than a culture, a history, or a meaningless banner over all operating systems in the "not Windows" category.
    The fact is Unix matters to IT and for a reason that may not occur even to those shops that already have it. Unix matters for a reason that escapes analysts' notice. I missed it, too. It's that little circle with the R in it. IBM, Sun, Fujitsu, HP, and Apple sell proprietary enterprise operating systems branded AIX, Solaris, HP-UX, and Mac OS X Leopard. These are very different. Mac OS X Leopard is very, very different.
    IBM, Sun, HP, Fujitsu and Apple also sell Unix. All of these vendors' Unix implementations are a precise match for the others, and vendors sign a contract guaranteeing IT that applications written for one Unix can run on all Unixes, and that a network of any size and reach can mix Unixes at will with guaranteed interoperability across vendors. One (large) set of documentation covers all Unix implementations for architects, developers and administrators. Non-branded Unix docs make no mention of the brand on the server machine, and they have no need to. All Unix, every Unix, works as described in that one set of manuals.
    Unix is not a core of source code common to all of the proprietary OSes I've described. If Unix were software, it would have died out during battles to own it. Unix is a registered trademark of The Open Group, which keeps the Single Unix Specification 03 (Unix 03, or just Unix). The specification — which the proprietary operating systems of IBM, Sun, Fujitsu, HP and Apple adhere to — definitively and inclusively describes Unix from the microscopic level (the C language and system data structures) to the command line. Any skills, staff, source code, infrastructure and solutions you invest in to Unix are portable across IBM, Sun, Fujitsu, HP, Apple and generic 32 and 64-bit x86 hardware.
    The Unix 03 spec is open, meaning fully publicly available in its final form. Unix 03 is drawn from several contributors and provides a single approach to key modernisations, including mixed execution of 32-bit and 64-bit code, and incorporating internationalised text. The spec doesn't get into the buried plumbing, only what's visible to users, admins and developers. For that matter, the spec doesn't care how a vendor implements it. IBM and HP have closed source implementations, while Sun and Apple have opened theirs.
    Nothing prevents Microsoft, Red Hat, Novell, or anyone from attaining the Unix trademark. Yes, Microsoft could conceivably slap the Unix trademark on Windows, but for a few million lines of code. The reason that only five vendors ply the trademark is that the Unix validation is the easy part. Or, rather, the cheap part. (Validation is hardly easy; ask Apple.) The dotted line that a vendor signs to use the trademark is the contract with Unix customers, software vendors, and competitors — the ecosystem — guaranteeing full interoperability across vendors.
    The trademark puts legal teeth in the Unix spec. Though Unix's smooth interoperability — and the freedom that independent software vendors enjoy to have one database or CRM code base cover so many different platforms — is a product of cooperation among Unix vendors, IT operations, universities and professional organisations. The Open Group didn't make that happen; it's always been the case. The trademark merely provides IT organisations that need to be sure, without the need for digging, that Unix means something, and it does. It means that Unix enterprise solutions work, and work together, without regard for the brand on the hardware.

  • Government identifies interoperability pain points

    The State Services Commission has identified interoperability “pain points” to improved integration between agencies, a key requirement for delivering “all-of-government” and e-government initiatives.

  • Lack of interoperability stunts powerline growth

    The lack of interoperability in powerline networking products used in homes is dramatically slowing down potential growth, industry leaders said during a panel discussion at the International Consumer Electronics Show, held in Las Vegas earlier this month.

  • SAN interoperability still a burning issue

    Storage analyst John Webster recalls telling attendees at a conference three years ago that there are users who make multivendor storage-area networks (SANs) work, but that most shy away from heterogeneity because the prospect is too scary. Users in the audience at the time agreed that multivendor SANs can work, Webster says. But many said they preferred to stay with a single vendor because it was easier, he recalls.

  • TCG demonstrates interoperability among vendors

    Securely controlling what devices and users gain access to corporate networks was a dominant theme at Interop, with the Trusted Computing Group demonstrating interoperability among multiple vendors’ gear, and individual vendors announcing mutual compliance with the TCG standard.

  • Australians starved of standards-based identity management

    Despite industry efforts to standardise identity management infrastructures, Australia’s end user decisions are still clouded by products with interoperability issues, says Michael Warrilow, research director at analyst firm Hydrasight.

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