Microsoft and Marimba have proposed a format which they hope to make an industry standard for use in software distribution over the Internet and intranets.
Their Open Software Description (OSD) has been endorsed by CyberMedia, InstallShield Software, LANovation, Lotus and Netscape.
The OSD specification aims to provide a standard format for describing software components, their versions, their underlying structure and their relationships to other components, according to Microsoft. The specification is intended to be used in software distribution via push technologies, such as that provided by Marimba and is based on the eXtensible Mark-up Language (XML), a new standard language underway at the World Wide Web Consortium that will complement HTML.
Marimba's Castanet product now supports OSD.
OSD is designed to describe software written in any language, and running on a variety of platforms, including Windows, Mac OS, and Unix-based systems, according to Microsoft. The specification is available at http://www.microsoft.com/standards/osd/.