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Unix-on-Intel players work on a common binary format

Dear Debian users and developers,

Here's an announcement from the 86open project, a project to make
binary compatibility across all Unix variants on Intel architectures.
In short, it's an effort to support ELF LIBC6 executables on all of the
platforms, so that vendors can build a single application that runs on
all Intel Unix variants. As you can see from the announcement, this
project already has a substantial amount of commercial support.

I think this has much more of a chance to succeed where previous Unix
standardization efforts have fallen short. Rather than produce a paper
standard, the project will release a reference implementation that runs
on the various platforms. Because this will be free software, the cost
of implementing compatibility will be much lower than that of
implementing new software to run a paper standard.

The fact that commercial Unix vendors are turning to free software for
this solution is a real triumph for the free software movement, and one
I expect to see repeated. I'm happy to see the major Linux distributions
represented on the steering committee along with the largest commercial
Unix vendors, and I'm proud to represent Debian on this project.


	Bruce Perens

                             The 86open Project
               Unix-on-Intel players work on a common binary
   A group which includes some of the key developers of Unix operating
   systems on Intel architecture computers have agreed to work on a
   common programming and binary interface.
   At a meeting held mid-August at the head office of SCO, participants
   achieved consensus on a way to create software applications which
   would run, without modification or emulation, on the Intel-based
   versions of:
     * BSDI
     * FreeBSD
     * Linux
     * NetBSD
     * SCO OpenServer
     * Sunsoft Solaris
     * SCO UnixWare
   The goal of this effort is to encourage software developers to port to
   the Unix-Intel platform by reducing the effort needed to support the
   diverse mix of operating systems of this kind currently available.
   The specification, called "86open", will be published and freely
   available to any environment wishing compliance. It involves the use
   of a standardized libc shared library of basic functions to be
   provided on all systems. This library will provide a consistent
   interface to programmers, hiding the differences between the various
   operating systems and allowing the resulting binary programs to run
   unaltered on any compliant system. Whenever possible, it will be
   consistent with The Open Group's Single Unix Specification.
   Each participating operating system will be free to implement the
   86open library specification on its own. However, the reference
   implementation will be based upon GNU's glibc version 2, ensuring that
   it will remain open and freely available. The actual list and behavior
   of the 86open functions is presently being determined.
   Participants in the meeting, who will be involved with the ongoing
   evolution of the 86open specification, include people deeply involved
   with the operating systems mentioned in this project. The 86open
   steering committee, a core of this group which will assemble the work
   and produce the final specification, comprises:
   Marc Ewing, Dion Johnson, Evan Leibovitch, Bruce Perens, Andrew Roach,
   Bryan Sparks and Linus Torvalds
   For more information, contact 86open@telly.org.
Bruce Perens K6BP   bruce@debian.org   NEW PHONE NUMBER: 510-620-3502

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