Announcement of ANDF Technical Mailing List
Tue, 12 Jan 1993 20:56:18 GMT

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Announcement of ANDF Technical Mailing List (1993-01-12)
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Newsgroups: comp.compilers
Organization: Compilers Central
Date: Tue, 12 Jan 1993 20:56:18 GMT
Keywords: UNCOL

ANDF mailing list announcement

This message announces a new mailing list for discussions of technical
issues related to ANDF, the Architecture-Neutral Distribution Format
technology whose development is being coordinated by the Open Software
Foundation (OSF). A description of ANDF and its current status appears
later in this message for those not familiar with it. This list will
supercede the OSF ANDF SIG mailing lists that were formerly in use.
Please forward this announcement to others who might be interested. is intended to be the general mailing list of the
technical ANDF community. It will be used to propose and discuss
changes to the ANDF specifications, and to vote on them (whether these
votes will be binding or just straw votes is not yet determined).
Whenever possible, the general mailing list should be used for ANDF
discussions, so that the issues can have the widest possible coverage.

Note that I am AUTOMATICALLY adding to the mailing
list, all persons who were on one of the older OSF ANDF mailing lists as
well as some who have recently requested to be added to ANDF mailing
lists. I would like to request that everyone who receives this message
by e-mail (as opposed to reading in a news group) respond by either
registering with the information on the form below, or else by asking to
be deleted.

To be added to or deleted from the list, or to get
copies of any of the references listed at the end of this message, send
e-mail to the ANDF administrator (currently Rich Ford) at I would like to restrict the mailing list to
include either names of individuals or pipes to local news groups,
excluding use of local mailing lists. This will help me control bounced
mail messages (which can be annoying) better, since trying to diagnose
problems in someone else's local mailing list can sometimes be
difficult. I prefer the use of individual e-mail addresses, but for
those who would rather use local news groups, I would still like the
names and e-mail addresses of those who will be reading the news for
those times when personal communication is necessary. Also, the list is actually composed of some sub-lists, some of
which have restricted circulation (because of the need to protect
proprietary information). Any new-groups on which andf-tech postings
will be sent must be as secure as the sub-list they belong to.

In order to serve the ANDF community better, I ask that those
requesting addition to the list do so by filling in
and returning by e-mail the following form.

===========================Cut Here===================================== MAILING LIST ADDITION FORM

Please provide the following information. Items marked * are optional.
Mail the edited form to

Full Name:
E-mail address:
E-mail address for pipe to news-group, if any*:
Phone Number*:
Fax Number*:
Postal Address*:

General Information[e.g. Job title, summary of your duties or interests, what
your company does, academic background, why you are interested in ANDF,
anything else you want to add]*:

Do you authorize distribution of the above information as part of a
directory of the ANDF community? ( Yes / No )
If you answer no, then the information you provide will be kept
confidential. Or, if you want to provide some of the information to
the ANDF administrator, but want it kept confidential, then indicate
what information can be released.

===========================Cut Here=====================================

In addition to letting me know who you are (e-mail addresses can be
rather cryptic), this information (from those who authorize it) can be
the basis of a directory of the ANDF community which I hope will help to
encourage cooperation. It also provides a way of communicating when
there are e-mail problems. This directory will be available by request
from the ANDF administrator (or could perhaps be posted periodically).
I also plan to have a monthly posting of a Frequently Asked Questions
(FAQ) list.

Thanks for your cooperation. I believe that ANDF is gaining momentum
and I hope that this mailing list will provide the review and
innovations that will help it to be a success.

Richard L. Ford


A Brief Introduction to ANDF

1. What is ANDF?

ANDF stands for Architecture-Neutral Distribution Format. It is a
technology that facilitates the development and distribution of portable
software on heterogeneous hardware and operating system platforms. It
is based on a compiler intermediate language in which all target dependence
has been abstracted out and deferred to installation. Thus a single
version of an application can be distributed in a "shrink-wrapped"
format that can be installed on diverse platforms.

With ANDF, the compilation process is divided into two parts. A
"producer", which is similar to a compiler front-end, processes the
source code and target-independent header files to produce the ANDF form
of the application. When the software is installed at the target site,
an "installer", which is similar to a compiler back-end, combines the
ANDF code with target-dependent definitions and libraries to produce an
executable program or an object code library.

There are three main roles relative to ANDF: Software Vendor, System
Vendor, and End-User. System vendors (or perhaps independent ANDF tool
suppliers) will supply ANDF producers, installers, debuggers, interpreters and
other portability aids to the software vendors for use in developing
applications. The system vendors will use these and additional components
such as validation suites and formal methods to increase the reliability of
the ANDF tools. The end-user will buy an application in ANDF form and then use
an ANDF installer supplied by the system vendor to install the software. An
alternate scenario is that a software distribution service agency or network
server could do the work of using the installer to produce the target
executable files for the end-user.

2. A Very Brief ANDF History (See [1], appendix C for more details)

On April 25, 1989, the Open Software Foundation (OSF), of Cambridge,
Massachusetts, issued the Architecture-Neutral Distribution Format
Request for Technology (RFT). Its purpose was to solicit technologies
that would provide a single format for distributing software independent
of the hardware platform. Twenty five summary proposals, and then
fifteen full proposals were received. Representative solutions included
obscured source code, compiler intermediate languages, and tagged
executable code.

The list of submitters was narrowed to a short list of four in February 1990.
These produced prototypes which were evaluated. On June 4, 1991, OSF
announced that it had selected the TDF (Ten15 Distribution Format) technology
from the Electronics Division of the Defense Research Agency (DRA) of the UK,
formerly Royal Signals and Radar Establishment, for the core technology of
ANDF. TDF is specified as a many-sorted algebra. TDF itself was the result
of a 5 year research program at DRA with goals very similar to those of ANDF.
Since that time, OSF has released 3 snapshots of the ANDF technology.
Snapshot four is currently planned for January 1993.

>From its inception until about April 1992, the ANDF program was managed
by OSF Engineering, with advise from industry consultants and the ANDF
Special Interest Group (SIG). Since then it has moved to the OSF Research
Institute. The ANDF SIG has been replaced by an ANDF Working Group (WG)
which had its first meeting on September 17, 1992.

Installers have been written for the VAX, MIPS, i386, SPARC, 68k, and
RS/6000 architectures. Currently, C is the only language with an ANDF
producer. Operating systems supported are Ultrix4, SCO/UNIX, SUNOS,
HP_UX, AIX, and OSF/1 both with integrated kernel and with microkernel.
The runtime performance of code produced by the ANDF technology is
within about 5% of the best native compiler produced code, for selected
benchmarks (including SPECint), and is sometimes better. Application
Programming Interfaces (APIs) currently supported include ANSI C, Posix,
and XPG3. DRA and USL are working on SVID3 support.

3 Current and Planned ANDF Programs

3.1 DRA continues to develop the ANDF technology, under contracts from
OSF and others. Recent code drops (October and November 1992) have
supported a revised spec which is capable of supporting C, C++, Fortran,
and the Pascal family of languages. In addition, ANDF is extensible so
it should be possible to make any extensions needed for additional
languages in an upward compatible way. Currently, C is the only
language with an ANDF producer.

3.2 HP has been sponsoring work at OSF to validate the ANDF technology
by using the DRA tools to port real world applications. It is also
sponsoring the GANDF project, an experimental installer based on the Gnu
C Compiler from the Free Software Foundation. A primary goal of GANDF
is to show that ANDF can be interfaced to existing compiler back-end
technology (with one aim being an installer for the PA-RISC
architecture). This should encourage system vendors to undertake the
production of high quality installers based on their existing high
quality compiler back-ends. In addition, if GANDF turns out to be a
practical way to produce installers, it will become easy to produce
installers, of quality comparable to gcc, for all of the targets that
gcc supports.

3.3 USL has sponsored work at OSF and DRA to support portable software
for their Destiny (System V release 4.2) operating system, as well as
general work in validating the ANDF technology. The ORACLE data base
system is being ported to ANDF as part of this project.

3.4 The GLUE (Global Language support and Uniform Environment) project
is part of the Open Microprocessor Initiative (OMI), which is funded by
the European Esprit program. The global objective of the project is to
use the ANDF technology to provide a common interface between a number
of RISC microprocessor based systems and a set of application software
packages; the idea being to insulate the application software from the
underlying O/S and hardware base, in order to avoid the huge expense
associated with repeated porting from one base to another. [2] It is a
3 year program that started in July 1992 and which is expected to
represent about a 1100 staff-month effort. The following are the main
participants of the OMI/GLUE project:

Company Country
Etnoteam Italy
DDC-I Denmark
Harlequin UK
OSF-RI France
Bull France
INESC Portugal
Inmos UK

The OMI/GLUE project includes the following tasks: an F77 producer, an Alpha
Installer, a Formal Specification, an Ada producer, ANDF tools, a Lisp
Producer, ANDF Validation Suite, a software distribution study, a C++
producer, Parallelization extensions for ANDF, an occam producer, and an ANDF
installer for transputers,

3.5 A three-year DARPA-sponsored research program at the OSF RI in Cambridge
started in December 1992. It includes work on ANDF extensions to support
massively parallel processing, primarily in Fortran.

3.6 The ANDF Snapshot program continues. Currently 19 companies are
snapshot licensees.

4. A Brief Summary of Expected ANDF Benefits [3]

4.1 End User Benefits

- Increased availability of software for open systems
- Ability to decouple software and hardware purchasing decisions
- Ease of distribution
- Reduction in training costs when users move from one platform to
- Increased longevity of software investments, since ANDF applications
    will run on new hardware that supports ANDF
- Scalability of applications and interoperability of various machine
    architectures .
- Reduced need to upgrade an application for new system versions.

4.2 Software Vendor Benefits

- Simplified software development of portable code
- Reduced maintenance cost
- Reduced testing cost
- Reduced manufacturing and distribution costs

4.3 System Vendor Benefits

- Immediate access to an application base for new architectures
- Freedom to create new hardware and software while preserving the
    application base.
- Reduced cost to carry a diverse product line with multiple
    architectures and operating systems.

5. Credits and Bibliography

For those desiring more information about ANDF, here is a bibliography.
These documents are available from OSF, except as noted otherwise. Some
of the the information and wording of this announcement was extracted
from some of the OSF documents listed below.

[1] OSF Architecture-Neutral Distribution Format Rationale, Anonymous,
June 1991, OSF.

[2] The information in item 3.4 is taken from internal OSF documents by Ira
Goldstein and Jacques Febvre. For further information on the OMI/GLUE
project, contact the project director,

        Gianluigi Castelli
        Via Adelaide Bono Cairoli
        34-20127 Milan, Italy
        phone: + 39 / 2 / 261 621
        fax: + 39 / 2 / 261 10755
        e-mail: gicas@etnomi.uucp

[3] ANDF, Application Portability, and Open Systems: A White Paper,
Anonymous, December 1991, OSF.

[4] Answers to Commonly Asked Questions about the OSF
Architecture-Neutral Software Distribution Format, Anonymous, February
1991, OSF.

[5] The Structure of ANDF: Principles and Examples: A Technical Paper,
by Stavros Macrakis, January 1992, OSF.

[6] From UNCOL to ANDF: Progress in Standard Intermediate Languages: A
Technical Paper, by Stavros Macrakis, January 1992, OSF.

[7] The ANDF Advanced Technology Program at OSF, by Ira Goldstein, July
1992, OSF.

[8] TDF (Ten15 Distribution Format) Specification, Defense Research
Agency, UK, September 1992, DRA.

[9] OSF's ANDF by Judith S. Hurwitz, October 1991, available as a
reprint from "Unix in the Office" Vol. 6, No. 10, Patricia Seybold's
Office Computing Group.

[10] Protecting Source Code with ANDF, by Stavros Macrakis, November
1992, OSF.

Other references will be forthcoming. Updated ANDF bibliographies will
be posted periodically on the mailing list.

Richard L. Ford | Open Software Foundation | <>
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ | Research Institute | Phone: +1 617 621 7392
Consultant | One Cambridge Center | Fax: +1 617 621 8696
                                | Cambridge, MA 02142, USA |

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