Get a Bigger Bed, its gonna be a busy night
Thu, 14 Aug 1997 17:46:20 -0400 (EDT)
MS, Marimba to work on standards
By Alex Lash and Jeff Pelline
August 14, 1997, 2:10 p.m. PTupdate Microsoft (MSFT) and Marimba today
proposed what they called the first open industry data format to automate
software distribution over the Internet.
The specification, known as Open Software Description (OSD), will reduce
the cost of PC ownership for corporations, the two companies said.
"Open Software Description provides a data format or vocabulary to
describe software components, their versions, their underlying structure,
and their relationships to other components," the companies said in a
OSD is based on XML, which stands for "extensible markup language." XML is
not yet a standard but is under development by the World Wide Web
The OSD specification is available on Microsoft's Web page and has been
endorsed by CyberMedia, InstallShield Software, LANovation, Lotus
Development, and Netscape Communications.
The objective of OSD is to provide an interoperability standard for
software description; it is built on XML, as is the CDF specification. CDF
stands for Channel Definition Format, which is Microsoft's technology
specification for turning a Web site into a "push" channel.
Netscape's push platform does not support CDF. The company is lobbying for
a different standard called MCF, or Meta Content Format, originally
developed by Apple Computer.
Microsoft said today's announcement "has to do with CDF." But Netscape
disagreed, stating emphatically that today's announcement is not an
endorsement of CDF. "CDF is a way to describe content and how it will be
distributed," said Dave Rothschild, Netscape director of client product
marketing. "We haven't endorsed it because you can get the same results
Despite Microsoft's recent buying spree of Internet software companies,
there is no investment involved in the deal.
Last month, Netscape agreed to distribute Marimba's client and server
technology called Castanet, which pushes software applications directly to
user desktops. One use is to let systems managers update software on
workers' PCs via company networks.