Open Group to manage NC spec, certify and brand NCs

The Network Computer Reference Profile will soon be turned over to The Open Group, which will manage the standard and develop a branding and certification program, according to key network computer (NC) players. Oracle, IBM, Network Computer Inc., Sun Microsystems, and Digital Semiconductor announced the agreement with The Open Group standards organisation. Since the May 1996 unveiling of the reference profile, which defines standards for NCs, the vendors have planned to turn it over to The Open Group, says Ed Harbour, director of strategy for IBM's network computer division.

The Network Computer Reference Profile will soon be turned over to The Open Group, which will manage the standard and develop a branding and certification program, according to key network computer (NC) players.

Oracle, IBM, Network Computer Inc., Sun Microsystems, and Digital Semiconductor announced the agreement with The Open Group standards organisation. Since the May 1996 unveiling of the reference profile, which defines standards for NCs, the vendors have planned to turn it over to The Open Group, says Ed Harbour, director of strategy for IBM's network computer division.

"The next phase in a standard is to have a neutral party to do certification and branding and manage the mark," Harbour says. "That basically gives manufacturers who produce network computers a way to get certified as well as ... [tells users the NC] will be interoperable with other network computers."

The Network Computer Reference Profile includes basic Web standards and is being extended to cover standards for mobile network computers and smart cards. It will now be known as the Network Computer Profile, and The Open Group will manage it under its Network Computer Program.

Within the next month, the organisation will unveil a Web-based testing and branding program, an Open Group spokesman said. Under the program, NC manufacturers will be able to download test suites from an Open Group Web server, run the tests on their premises, and then send the results back to The Open Group over the Internet.

The Open Group, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, can be reached on the World Wide Web at http://www.opengroup.org/.

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