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IBM First To Receive UNIX 2003 Certification 167

Hobart writes "Last Wednesday, IBM's AIX was the first to receive the UNIX 2003 certification from The Open Group, beating out Sun, HP, SCO and the rest. No mention anywhere in the branded products register of any Linux/BSD distribution, or Mac OS X. Are any companies still developing software to this certification, or requiring it?"
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IBM First To Receive UNIX 2003 Certification

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  • perfect (Score:5, Funny)

    by OffTheLip ( 636691 ) on Saturday October 23, 2004 @04:07PM (#10610199)
    IBM is rivaling Microsoft's uncany knack for aligning their company with revelant dates.
    • Because a business trying to map thier IT strategy based on time-based fiscal budgets would have no need to know when certain technologies will be available.
  • off-brand Unices (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tverbeek ( 457094 ) on Saturday October 23, 2004 @04:11PM (#10610224) Homepage
    No mention anywhere in the branded products register of any Linux/BSD distribution, or Mac OS X. Are any companies still developing software to this certification, or requiring it?

    I thought it was always strictly a UNIX® thang that was never important to the noncommercial BSDs, Linux, or OS X. That doesn't mean it isn't important to the markets that still rely on it for interoperability.

    • by Jeff DeMaagd ( 2015 ) on Saturday October 23, 2004 @04:40PM (#10610384) Homepage Journal
      IIRC, the certification is mostly for branding. And the branding is rediculously expensive just for the licence fees, not counting the system modifications needed to comply with the standard.
    • It costs money (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      You have to pay big $$$ to be evaluated by the standards group.

      I'm sure any open-source unix project with that kind of money has better ways to spend it.
    • Re:off-brand Unices (Score:4, Informative)

      by Billly Gates ( 198444 ) on Saturday October 23, 2004 @06:09PM (#10610758) Journal
      Certification is really for paperwork.

      Think of government institutions for example that require that a platform must be Unix, VMS, or Windows.

      If you want to try Linux guess what? You can't since according to the rules and regulations it is not a real unix. At least in the defense department and you can get in big trouble otherwise. Same is true for private businesses that deal with governmental contracts which state what they must run.

      Its quite silly really, but yes Linux is used commercially and its quite important for government contracts to be officially labelled as a unix. A C2 certification would be nice as well since only Windows, OS/390, and AIX are officially labelled secure enough according to government paperwork thanks to the silly label.

      To illustrate the point, why do you think MS invested so much money into making sure NT4 had limited and sorry possix support? The answer was to make NT4 a viable possix certified platform for the US government even though it never really was fully compatible, it was just the label.

      • by jd ( 1658 ) <imipak@yaTOKYOhoo.com minus city> on Saturday October 23, 2004 @06:35PM (#10610879) Homepage Journal
        ...actually has got a C2 certification, with help from IBM. As such, the German distribution is the only one that can legally be used by the US DoD. Ok, so the invasion takes place 50 years later than planned. What's a bit of transatlantic lag?
        • a la Multics. MS made a big deal out of C2 certification and politely forgot to point out that the only way they got it was to pull the network connection. Hey, this is the real world. B0 and seriously radiation hardened secure stuff *still* means our old friend Multics. (Which I personally liked even though our university ticked off everybody by busting the budget with their dual processor Honeywell c.a. 1980). If you really want a laugh imagine the comments from the science depts when the CS dept burns *e
  • yeah but (Score:5, Funny)

    by commodoresloat ( 172735 ) on Saturday October 23, 2004 @04:12PM (#10610229)
    IBM had to turn down the certification because they couldn't find the relevant code.
  • Standards... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 23, 2004 @04:15PM (#10610250)

    No mention anywhere in the branded products register of any Linux/BSD distribution, or Mac OS X. Are any companies still developing software to this certification, or requiring it?"

    Companies and groups that are truly interested in standards will care and require it. Unfortunately all Linux distributions and BSD projects are not even close to being a Unix certified product. And the BSD families are much closer than Linux.

    MacOSX could be with some cash (which they have lots of) but their target markets aren't hardcore techies, it's graphic designers and iPod buyers.
    • Re:Standards... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by MBCook ( 132727 ) <foobarsoft@foobarsoft.com> on Saturday October 23, 2004 @04:50PM (#10610422) Homepage
      I agree. While Apple is trying to get their machines in the server room (especially for small businesses) and they are nice machines, they are definatly not aimed at the kind of places that would probably demand this certification. I would think this kind of thing would be more apt to be a requirement for large contracts at large companies (Fortune 500 and such), where if they wanted to they would have the resources to work around the bits that are missing from OS X (whatever those are, no idea) if they really cared.

      I don't think Apple would get any real benefit (at least in the short term) from such a certification. They should get into more server rooms first.

    • ps -u root

      That's been a part of POSIX since 1988. Even SCO
      gets this one right.

      Come back and discuss things again after you've
      fixed the blatent and willfull standard violations.
      • Works fine on Linux!
    • Re:Standards... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by TiMac ( 621390 ) on Saturday October 23, 2004 @05:27PM (#10610582)
      Mac OS X COULD be, except for legal issues. The Open Group sued Apple years ago (link [com.com]) over Apple's use of UNIX in regards to Mac OS X, and the lawsuit was delayed [computerweekly.com] last year until this year....I don't remember hearing anything more about it since....and I can't find any new info. Apple is fighting the very idea that Open Group has a trademark on UNIX anymore, claiming the term generic. Might weaken their case if they paid to license it now.
    • Re:Standards... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Fallen Andy ( 795676 )
      Eh? Who defines this stuff. BSDI? SCO? Novell? One of the perennial curses of what constitutes UNIX was
      the bitching betweeen the big guys.

      Nowadays, we pretty much understand that UNIX is really FreeBSD + Linux +

      Sorry SUN, IBM etc but this is the *real* world. We don't want to code for your flakey headers or bleed out because of your incompetence... We've got used to really quick bug fixes flashed across the planet in a way that you guys couldn't even dream of...

      I think I screamed enough there. Mac OSX o
      • wow, what a moronic post.

        UNIX is defined by the Open Group. Period.

        Mac OS X is based on a design from the 80's, get with it.

        • You perhaps think that the MAC OS is still stuck back in the 68K days of handles and memory managers on machines with no MMU. No sir. OS X *is* a BSD unix, with all of Apple's gorgeous stuff running in user land. Anyways, UNIX goes back to Ken Thompson's
          playfulness on a spare minicomputer c.a. 1969 so what are you trying to suggest? Maybe I'm just senile.
          OK, GA GA GA.
          Je Men Foo
    • Depends whether you look at Linux as just another Unix, or its logical replacement. Linux has its own standards, because its more developed and maintained than proprietary Unix. In particular the LSB, which seems to matter to the old Unix's because The Apps Are On (or will soon by on), Linux. SCO, IBM and now Sun are all touting Linux compatibility, in Sun's case including standards compliance, for their proprietary Unixs.

      That's not to say that Unix standards don't matter to Linux. They do, but generally i
      • Linux is nothing without UNIX. People should be appluading that UNIX has finally advanced since 1998.

        Yes, Linux is pushing much of that development, but Linux is nowhere near the point that it needs to be to become a full UNIX. Yes, it is UNIX compatible, and will do what 90% of the world requires of a UNIX.. but it is not UNIX.
    • MacOSX could be with some cash (which they have lots of) but their target markets aren't hardcore techies, it's graphic designers and iPod buyers.

      wow, that's good to know, I was confused about 'techies', especially the 'hardcore' ones.. i was thinking maybe the US military's new supercomputer cluster, or the software tester for it, at Univ of Maine, or the huge numbers of applied engineering guys at NASA, and places like that, or those 'softcore' guys at UCLA's Blood Plasma Research facility. All of them

  • by FooAtWFU ( 699187 ) on Saturday October 23, 2004 @04:27PM (#10610310) Homepage
    that this standard is called Unix 2003, and now (towards the end of 2004) there is exactly one system which is certified. Compare to the rest of the software world... :)
  • by hey! ( 33014 ) on Saturday October 23, 2004 @04:27PM (#10610314) Homepage Journal
    I can see the ads now:

    AIX: the only operating system that supports the Unix standard!

    Not exactly a selling point for either, eh?
  • ... and still no SCO jokes.
  • What is the point ? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 23, 2004 @04:54PM (#10610441)
    The real question is how much this certification matters, if it appears it doesn't co-exist with POSIX standards.

    As discussed on comp.unix.solaris a few days ago - POSIX specifies (amongst many other things) what various flags passed to uname should produce. AIX (which my collegues and I always referred to as "Aix Ain't Unix" due to it's...ahem...'unique' approach to things) breaks this. So it shouldn't pass strict POSIX conformance testing, yet it passes UNIX03. So, what does this cert mean in reality, given that AIX is one of the most "non-Unixy" systems around anyway ? Who is really going to go for AIX over HP-UX or Solaris just because AIX got a cert ?
    • by Anonymous Coward
      AIX (which my collegues and I always referred to as "Aix Ain't Unix"

      Wouldn't "Aix Isn't uniX" be a more correct expansion (both grammatically and acronymically)?

    • ANd sadly NT4 is posix certified??

      What is this world coming too?

      It just comes to show that certifications can easily be achieved by following the letter and not spirit of why the certifications are there in the first place.

    • by Michael Wardle ( 50363 ) <mikel.mikelward@com> on Saturday October 23, 2004 @10:05PM (#10611925) Homepage

      UNIX® 03 [unix.org] is POSIX. It is a "common update to IEEE Std 1003.1,1996 Edition, IEEE Std 1003.2, 1992 Edition, their ISO/IEC counterparts and the previous version of the Single UNIX Specification".

      In the case of uname, compare the UNIX [opengroup.org] and the IBM [ibm.com] definitions. They look the same. In practise, the two ways it conforms to POSIX.1 yet differs from Solaris are the -m flag and the -r flag. With -m, AIX prints a hexadecimal number indicating the precise machine model rather than just the architecture (however this has become less useful on new IBM pSeries systems as "many new machines share a common machine ID of 4C"). This information can be augmented with the output of uname -M. With -r, I think only the major and minor version numbers are printed (it doesn't mention the point release since any point release should be compatible with other releases in that series). More precise information can be determined by running oslevel.

      I agree it would be nicer if uname -m gave a human-readable architecture description as many other UNIX systems do, but POSIX doesn't require it be human readable or have a 1:1 mapping to CPU architecture.

  • by jmank88 ( 813483 ) on Saturday October 23, 2004 @04:56PM (#10610457)
    you know its a slow news day when the article starts with "Last Wednesday..." -jordan
  • Linux ? (Score:1, Troll)

    BSD is a true Unix, so applying for the certification is reasonable, but wasn't Linux (or its predecessor Minix) a Unix-clone ? It can be POSIX-certified, but Unix-certified is a bit stretching the truth ? That's similar to a street bootlegger asking Louis Vuitton's Paris headquarters to certify their $15 LV bags for "authenticity."
    • You Both Right and Wrong.

      Right - BSD is a genuine descendant of the original AT&T Unix. It is a Unix in everything but name. Linux is a completely new clone

      The wrong part is about what it takes to be a brand-name UNIX(TM). No descent from AT&T Unix is required and no code simularity is required. The only requirement is that the system meet certain inter-operability standards that are defined in the Unix Specification from Open Group. So a completely new clone like Linux could (theoretically)
      1. Minix is a "predecessor" to Linux only chronologically, not in terms of derivation, as you seem to be implying.
      2. This certification is about operation, not source code or derivation. They're not saying "This is based on an old Unix," they're saying "This works like a current UNIX® is supposed to." Heck, if Microsoft could get Windows to do everything the OpenGroup's spec called for, and ponied up the cash, they could start calling it "Microsoft Windows UNIX®". And it would be true. Likewise, if t
  • by HighOrbit ( 631451 ) on Saturday October 23, 2004 @05:03PM (#10610487)
    IIRC, the orginal idea behind the UNIX trademark being given to the Open Group was so they would "protect" the UNIX name by making sure that anything calling itself "UNIX" would have to meet certain inter-operability standards. You could only license the UNIX(TM) name if your product met some strict standards.

    That *would* have been a GOOD THING(TM). The problem is they charge mega-$$$ for certification and license royalties. They charge much much more than their costs and reap a huge profit on each certification. This basically freezes out any free/open unix-like system and it also is a barrier to entry for a start-up who would otherwise meet the standard. With a little work, there are few reasons why FreeBSD (for instance) would not be able to meet the standard, but that would require mega-bucks to be handed over to the Open Group and few open source project have that kind of money.

    Cheers to IBM for meeting the standard. Jeers to Open Group for being a bunch of greedy bastards and locking out Free Software.
    • ``The problem is they charge mega-$$$ for certification''

      A lot of otherwise useful certification programs have that problem. It makes me wonder why free certifications don't have more mindshare. Actually, it would be a Good Thing if charging a lot for certification were not allowed. Unfortunately, too few people really care about interoperability. They only care if things work with their system of choice (be it Linux, Windows, GNU, Word, or whatever).
      • Free certifications don't have the mindshare because checking for compliance with a detailed specification is a non-trivial task. A test suite needs to be developed, and it needs to be run by a human (some parts of the specification can be checked automatically, others can't). Both of these cost money. The easiest way to recoup this money is to charge people for the certification. If you can suggest an alternate way of funding this kind of activity, then perhaps you should.
    • Fair enough criticism, but how would you propose that these certifying groups be supported?

      Taxes? Bake sales? Fund-raising drives?

      • How about "cost recovery".

        As opposed to "huge profit", that is.
      • I agree. Charging enough to cover the cost of administrating the certification and of developing the test suite would be good stewardship of the UNIX trademark. Raising prices so high that only large corporations can afford to license the trademark is simply not good stewardship.

        Remember the original idea was to license the trademark to systems that could meet the Single Unix Specification and thereby protect the UNIX name. Now the idea seems to be to squeeze as much licensing royalties out of the softwar
    • It is unfortunate that things are this way. However, Open/Free OSs can still support the standards even if they dont do the certification. This certianly helps software to be re-used and easily ported across OSs and could save a lot of time by avoiding having to do extensive porting of an app to each OS.
    • I believe part of being a UNIX is having a large company to be held accountable for the software: no room for M$-style EULAs. Basically AFAIK if you get a UNIX you know you can sue the pants off of the company if it fux up. How the hell would any free or even low-cost *nix be able to meet that requirement? Frankly, the reason that people like Linx\BSD is because they are good and cheap... they are cheap because they have few costs... ergo free Unix is self-contradictory.
  • Please note (Score:1, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    That SCO, the self purported "owners of the UNIX operating system," are behind IBM in meeting the latest UNIX standards.
  • Apple Lawsuit (Score:3, Insightful)

    by buckhead_buddy ( 186384 ) on Saturday October 23, 2004 @05:22PM (#10610571)
    Apple did get it's old Unix-for-Mac product "A/UX" certified as a real Unix. But for a long time Apple described Mac OS X as "Unix-like", later it used the term "Unix based" technology. The Open Group filed a lawsuit against Apple for using this terminology back in 2001 and this was still winding its way through the court and negotiation system as late as June 2004. I have no idea what the state of things is today, but Apple got very nasty during these "negotiations" claiming that the word Unix itself doesn't denote a strict set of standards. At some point people were talking about Apple having to pay huge fines or the Open Group losing the use of Unix as a trademark as the only two outcomes of this trial.

    Whatever happened, I doubt Apple will go after the certification of Unix 2003.
  • by Doc Ruby ( 173196 ) on Saturday October 23, 2004 @05:53PM (#10610680) Homepage Journal
    Now IBM's "lost AIX source code" makes sense: they actually pulled off, at the Unix Certification, the old fantasy of "the dog ate my homework"!
  • Linux may not have the "Unix 2003 standard" label, but Linux Weekly News [lwn.net] reports that Linus has now declared a pre-patch release naming standard! After the confusion surrounding the 2.6.9 pre-patch naming conventions, Linus has created an important Standards Document outlining the new naming policy. In honor of this event, Linux kernels will now be entitled "Woozy Numbat".
  • MS Windows (Score:3, Funny)

    by ChiralSoftware ( 743411 ) <info@chiralsoftware.net> on Saturday October 23, 2004 @06:57PM (#10611005) Homepage
    I wonder why MS doesn't get its Server 2003 Unix-certified. If they really want to break into the server business, that would be a logical thing for them to do, and they have the resources to do it. Yes, funny as it sounds, there's no reason why Windows Server 2003 couldn't become an officially-certified Unix, just like Linux could if someone bothered to take it through the certification process.

    • Re:MS Windows (Score:5, Interesting)

      by cpghost ( 719344 ) on Saturday October 23, 2004 @09:22PM (#10611698) Homepage

      I wonder why MS doesn't get its Server 2003 Unix-certified.

      That's the funny thing about Unix. All it takes is a set of syscalls and libraries that would provide userland apps with all required interfaces. Unix is just some kind of virtual machine that userland programs can invoke and expect some kind of behaviour.

      So, if Server 2003 implemented all those interfaces, it would effectively be Unix, and could be certified as such.

      Now... does it?

    • Jokes aside, NT was actually the first OS certified as POSIX compliant. MS needed it so certified because a lot of government contracts required POSIX compliance. At first, UNIX companies were slow getting this certification, essentially believing the obviousness of them being UNIX would eliminate the need for the certification (the process wasn't free you know). Once they started losing contracts to MS, they all got certified.

      The original NT was a microkernel will "personalities" not altogether differe
  • Why AIX? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ClosedSource ( 238333 ) on Saturday October 23, 2004 @08:42PM (#10611493)
    So, if IBM is really embracing Linux, why spend the time and money to certify AIX. They could have spent it on Linux development. Doesn't the certification devalue Linux a bit by comparison?
    • Re:Why AIX? (Score:5, Informative)

      by sapbasisnerd ( 729448 ) on Saturday October 23, 2004 @11:19PM (#10612236)
      This is a "which of your children do you love most" question. AIX serves a different purpose and market than Linux. For example you can now run AIX on a 64 way SMP machine and get good scaling, Linux tops out at what? is it 8 now or still 4? There are a raft of applications that run on AIX that do not (yet at least) run on Linux and there are other issues.
      • So why not work on closing the gap between Linux in AIX instead? It's not that I blame IBM for supporting AIX, I'm just challenging IBM's PR campaign about how pro OSS they are and some Slashdotters' promotion of IBM as the corporate poster boy for OSS. Clearly IBM has a dual Unix strategy for the foreseeable future.
    • So, if IBM is really embracing Linux, why spend the time and money to certify AIX.

      Because IBM's customers want AIX and Linux, not AIX or Linux.
      If it works on both then the choice can be made on secondary considerations or even just on the whim of the moment.
      In the unlikely event that one breaks, there is a fair chance that the other is not broken.
      With two valid contenders, there tends to be competition which actually improves both. I'd say that the AIX certification actually results in increasing the valu
    • So-called "Unix" servers will be a $20 billion dollar market in 2 years, and Linux will grow to a $7 billion one by then. Total POSIX compliance of the Linux kernel API alone (let alone of the usual OS utilities) is somewhat out of IBM's hands.....
  • what do I miss?

    - Hubert
  • by ewe2 ( 47163 )
    Woopy-doo. I couldn't care less. Who gives a flying burrito? Irrelevant. Redundant. Pointless and expensive. Either blow it out of, or jam it out of, your bottom. Bollocks. Wake me up for the next reel.
  • On AIX? It is currently possible, but the procedure is so arcane projects like OpenSSL refuse to even bother.

    Decent page viewer, modern version of top and other utilities are overdue too...

You are in a maze of little twisting passages, all different.