Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Apple decides to ship UNIX(R)

Finished one course but still behind on grading.

Apple has finally decided to ship a UNIX operating system — its Leopard (OS X 10.5) shipping October is fully compliant with two Unix validation suites: the Open Group’s Single UNIX Specification (SUSv3) and the IEEE’s POSIX 1003.1.

Since March 2001, has been shipping OS X based on two Unix-derived operating systems — FreeBSD and Mach (which was mainly associated with NeXT). However, its rivals have been sniping at its claim of shipping a UNIX operating system because it had not (previously) passed compliance tests.

A decade or two ago, people fought for the rights to use the UNIX® trademark. POSIX was invented so people could legitimate UNIX clones without having to pay to use AT&T's code or trademark. The 4.4BSD-Lite release in 1994 marked the first full release of a UNIX-like operating system without AT&T code.

While POSIX provided technical interoperability, by the time standardization was completed (and the “Unix Wars” were over), Windows had achieved total world domination. Jim Isaak — chair of the POSIX committee for 15 years and recently a candidate for IEEE Computer Society president — wrote about all the dilemmas of POSIX standardization in a paper for my HICSS minitrack on IT standards. He published two slightly different versions of the story in the HICSS (IEEE) proceedings and a special issue of JITSR.

No comments: