OSF Request for Technology - ANDF

hartman@osf.osf.org (Doug Hartman)
26 Apr 89 17:51:44 GMT

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OSF Request for Technology - ANDF hartman@osf.osf.org (1989-04-26)
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Posted-Date: 26 Apr 89 17:51:44 GMT
From: hartman@osf.osf.org (Doug Hartman)
Newsgroups: comp.compilers
Date: 26 Apr 89 17:51:44 GMT
Organization: Open Software Foundation


April 26, 1989

The Open Software Foundation (OSF) is pleased to announce the
attached Request for Technology.

OSF is an international, not-for-profit organization dedicated to the
development and delivery of an open, portable software environment.

This posting includes a request for technology to address the
problem of distributing open software to customers. Open software
can run on any machine. Current distribution mechanisms require
the software to be packaged for specific machine architectures. This
RFT solicits proposals for an Architecture-Neutral Distribution Format (ANDF).
The goal of ANDF is to simplify the distribution of software by providing a
single format for distribution that is hardware-independent.

OSF considers ANDF the keystone technology for delivering the benefits of
open software to the end user.

The RFT outlines mandatory requirements, key evaluation criteria,
the evaluation process, and details of what to submit. A letter of
intent to respond is due by June 30, 1989.

OSF will evaluate submissions through an open process with full
review of candidate technologies by our membership. The selections will be
made based on technical merit relative to the requirements outlined in the RFT.
Some technologies may provide only partial solutions. OSF encourages
submissions of partial solutions, since the final technology may be a
combination of multiple technologies.

If your organization has technology related to this RFT, we encourage
you to prepare a submission for consideration. If not, but you are aware
of other organizations who have relevant technology, please share the RFT
with them. Moreover, we encourage your organization to become a member of
the Open Software Foundation -- review of emerging open systems is just one
of the many benefits available to OSF members.

In addition to the RFT, this posting contains an introduction to the concept of
ANDF to answer any basic questions you may have. You can obtain additional
copies of the RFT or make inquiries about the ANDF RFT by calling the
information desk at (617) 621-8880 or by writing to:

Open Software Foundation
11 Cambridge Center
Cambridge, MA 02142
Attention: ANDF RFT Inquiries Desk

We look forward to working with your organization in this important

| Request for Technology
| Architecture-Neutral Distribution Format

User Requirement

OSF is soliciting technologies that will simplify the distribution of
software by providing a single format for distribution that is hardware-
independent. The architecture-neutral distribution format (ANDF) will
provide an alternative to current techniques that require a separate format
for each hardware architecture.

Use of an architecture-neutral distribution format will provide
benefits for a variety of audiences.

End-user organizations can:

- enjoy increased software availability;
- distribute software easily across a network for use on various
    computers, and
- simplify application software procurement.

Software vendors can:

- reduce stocking and distribution costs, and
- reduce resources required to support multiple hardware

Hardware vendors can:

- innovate without concerns for applications base, and
- rely on the availability of a rich applications base for new


The OSF is seeking technologies to address a broad set of
requirements affecting the distribution of open software to users.
The solution should consist of:

1. A specification for providing architecture-neutral software
distribution. Possible examples include specification of an
intermediate compiler format, encrypted source, or tagged

2. An implementation, if available. Technologies will be accepted
for evaluation without an implementation, but proof of technology
through prototyping will be required before final selection.

The OSF recognizes that partial solutions exist which could be coupled
with others to comprise the best final solution. We encourage the
submission of partial solutions and remain open to the possibility of
selecting and combining multiple technologies.

Mandatory Requirements

All candidate specifications and technologies must meet the following
minimal requirements:

Multiple architectures
Support for at least two distinct machine architectures must be

The mechanism must support applications written in ANSI C.

The technology must be extensible, both to additional hardware
architectures and to additional programming languages.

Product Readiness
The implementation must be available for shipment during 1990.

Testing Support
Submissions shall include provisions for automated testing of ANDF
facilities which will assure, in so far as possible, the correctness of
the design.

Implementations shall be portable across a wide range of hardware

National Language Support
Implementations must be capable of supporting a broad range of
national languages, including at least European, Semitic, and Asian

Submissions shall provide clear, accurate, and usable product
documentation at the engineering specification, interface reference,
and programmer/user guide levels. The documentation's
organization should clearly delineate specification, reference, and
guide information. It should also include a list of known limitations.

Reasonable and Equitable Licensing Terms
The submitter must have the authority to grant OSF a license under
reasonable terms to use, modify and/or sublicense the submitted
technologies in source and object code form, including machine-
readable documentation.

Key Evaluation Criteria

In general, submissions should provide a high level of performance,
and they should scale over a range of machine types. In addition,
the following criteria will be used to evaluate technologies:

Commercial-quality code
The submissions should support the generation of commercial quality
code. The implementation should not impose a severe performance penalty
or produce code that is less reliable than code distributed through
conventional means, such as application binary interfaces (ABI's).

Protection of proprietary information
The software vendor's proprietary information should be protected.

Library Support
The submission should be able to support program components such
as libraries, in addition to complete programs.

The submission should conform with standards when applicable,
including the IEEE standard 1003.1 (POSIX) system interface specification.

It is desirable that implementations be written in ANSI C.

Submissions should provide descriptions of the methodology used to
test the correctness of the distribution mechanism for a specific application
and the completeness of the solution in general.

Implementations should be serviceable and reliable.

Documentation should be available in machine-readable source
format. This source should be in a portable interchange format (e.g.
troff with mm and man macros) or should be easily transformable to such
a format by the submitter.

Consideration will be given to other criteria such as ease of use,
breadth of applicability, functional richness and innovation.

Evaluation Process and Milestones

The evaluation process will consist of three stages.

Stage 1.
Notification of intent to respond is required by June 30, 1989. It
should be accompanied by a summary proposal that will be reviewed by OSF
staff to allow preparation for the evaluation phase. Additionally, OSF may
contact submitters so that they can improve the quality of their detailed
proposals. OSF will provide feedback to the submitters no later than
August 28, 1989.

Stage 2.
Detailed proposals are due to OSF on October 16, 1989.

An evaluation team consisting of OSF staff, selected OSF members,
and industry or academic consultants will review submissions according to
the RFT requirements. Submitters of qualifying technologies will have an
opportunity to present their material to OSF members and staff at an OSF
member Technology Review Meeting in November.

The evaluation team will then select a group of technologies to
participate in the proof of feasibility phase, which will begin in
January, 1990.

Stage 3.
A final short list of technologies will be selected by the evaluation
team after feasibility has been demonstrated. This group of submitters will
be involved in the last phase of the evaluation, which will include a lab
period at OSF.

OSF will publicly announce the selected technologies along with the
selection rationale.

The scope of the evaluation is dependent on the number and length
of the responses. Consequently, dates for the selection of the short list
and the final selection will be announced on January 8, 1990.

As with any RFT, if no submissions meet the above requirements,
then OSF will consider modifying the RFT. Any such modifications will be
announced on January 8, 1990.

What to Submit

If examination of confidential material is necessary, please let us
know prior to submittal and appropriate non-disclosure arrangements will be
made with the individual vendor or vendors involved.

Summary proposals
Summary proposals should be no more than 10 pages in length.
They should include a response to each of the mandatory requirements, a
discussion relating to each of the key evaluation criteria, and an outline
of the architecture.

Detailed proposals
Detailed proposals should include:

1. The ANDF specification.

2. A description of the implementation scheme for converting
application source to the proposed ANDF and for translating the ANDF into
executable for the two target machines. This description should include
consideration of portability and verification issues.

3. A detailed and complete description of the proposed
implementation architecture.

4. Proposed license and business terms.

5. Proposed documentation plan.

6. For submissions that provide actual implementations, a copy of
the ANDF verification should be provided. The verification should include a
description of the tools and test suites to be used to ensure the
correctness of the ANDF specification and implementation for two machines
with different architectures. The submission also should include all
relevant documentation.

7. Any other materials the submitter deems relevant to this
evaluation process, such as internal documentation and functional

How to Submit

Send submissions to:
      Open Software Foundation
      11 Cambridge Center
      Cambridge, MA 02142
Attn: ANDF RFT Submission

Questions concerning this RFT should be directed to:
    RFT Inquiries Desk
    (617) 621-8880
[From hartman@osf.osf.org (Doug Hartman)]

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