Companies Warned: UNIX Belongs to X/Open

As X/Open Co. prepares to accept the first applications for UNIX branding, the open systems standards organization is also notifying companies of the new correct way to refer to UNIX.

All official references to UNIX in company literature, advertisements and public announcements should include the line: "UNIX is a registered trademark in the United States and other countries, licensed exclusively through X/Open Company Ltd." All references to AT&T, USL and Novell should be deleted. X/Open officially took possession of the UNIX trademark earlier this year after Novell's announcement in October 1993 that it would transfer the UNIX brand to X/Open's control. Since its birth in 1969, the use of the UNIX brand had been controlled tightly by its originator, AT&T and its spin-off, the former UNIX System Laboratories (USL). Novell bought USL last year. Since last October, X/Open has been developing specifications for awarding the UNIX brand, based on compliance with the Spec 1170 system interfaces and other standards.

Publication of the X/Open specification for Spec 1170 is expected within a month or two, and applications probably will begin flowing into X/Open by the end of the year, according to X/Open spokesperson Jeff Hansen. The first branded UNIX products are expected by early in 1995. Sponsors of X/Open's unified UNIX project are Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Novell's UNIX Systems Group (formerly USL), the Open Software Foundation, and SunSoft.

Products to be branded have to conform in four areas: the X/Open Portability Guide (XPG4), which lays down basic system interfaces, commands, and C language requirements; the Spec 1170 system interfaces; a set of internationalized terminal interfaces; and the network APIs, consisting of the sockets interface originated in Berkeley UNIX and since adopted by major vendors, and the X/Open Transport Interface (XTI), version 2.