The press release below is likely to surprise you, but perhaps not
shock you. The X Consortium has enjoyed a long and successful tenure
in the UNIX community, perhaps longer than might have been expected
given our relatively narrow focus (compared with many consortia) and
the inevitable rate of change in the marketplace. X technology isn't
going to disappear any time soon, but it is no longer a strategic
investment for the UNIX industry, and while X needs to be maintained
into the future, a dedicated consortium isn't needed for that
maintenance. Simply put, our mission has been accomplished, and it's
time to recognize that.
It was on my recommendation that the Board of Directors voted to wind
down our engineering operations, but ultimately it's you, our members,
who will be asked to decide whether to dissolve the organization or
have it continue in some reduced capacity. As our discussions
progress with The Open Group, we'll provide you with more detailed
information about the transition and solicit your feedback about
whether there is any continuing need for the Consortium.
I am still very committed to finishing Broadway, so let me take this
opportunity to say that if your company has an interest in any part of
Broadway, now more than ever is the time to pitch in and help us get
it done by the end of the year. As implied by the press release, we
are scrapping the previously-proposed software licensing plan, and
Broadway (which will likely now be renamed to X11R7) will be released
to the public under the familiar "freely-available" terms.
I'm sure this still leaves you with questions, which I'll endeavor to
answer as quickly as I can, now that the direction is public. Please
feel free to ask questions on the advisory and/or badvisory mailing
lists, or to me privately.
For Immediate Release
Director of Marketing,
X Consortium, Inc.
X Consortium to Transfer X Window System(tm) to The Open Group
Cambridge, Massachusetts - July 1, 1996 - X Consortium, Inc. today
announced that it would transfer responsibility for the X Window System
to The Open Group at the beginning of next year. "X is now mainstream
technology, and since the first commercial release in 1986 it has
matured to the point where a dedicated consortium is no longer essential
to its on-going support," explains Robert W. Scheifler, president of the
X Consortium. "Our industry will benefit greatly by continuing and
accelerating the convergence of X, Motif and the Common Desktop
Environment (CDE) into a unified technology stack. This is already well
underway with the current CDE-Motif PST project, operating under the
auspices of The Open Group, an organization that is well positioned to
take this technology into the future." The Open Group will continue
their existing work of publishing, testing and branding products which
conform to international standards, including X.
"As a long standing partner with the X Consortium in the Open Systems
industry, The Open Group supports this decision. On a personal note, I
want to add that the computer industry owes an enormous debt of
gratitude to Bob Scheifler and the X Consortium for the service they
have provided for the last eight years," commented Jim Bell, CEO of The
Open Group. "Their very positive impact on our industry will continue to
be felt for years to come."
As part of this change, X Consortium plans to wind down all engineering
operations at the end of this year. "I have made a commitment to our
members, and to the sponsors of the CDE-Motif project, to oversee the
entire transition process from now until our current engineering
projects are finished and the hand-off is complete," said Scheifler. The
X Consortium will work with its members and The Open Group to determine
whether the organization should continue on in some reduced fashion.
Broadway, the code name for the next release of the X Window System,
will be completed as planned by the end of the year, and will be made
freely available to the public under the same terms as previous X
Consortium releases. Broadway enables interactive UNIX and Windows
applications to be integrated, unmodified, into HTML documents and
published on World Wide Web servers, using plug-in technology, and
includes network protocols for graphics and audio to provide remote
access to those applications from inside Web browsers. The Broadway
release is expected to be available from current sources, including
worldwide ftp sites and CDROM distributors.
The X Consortium will fulfill its obligations as prime contractor in The
Open Group's Pre-Structured Technology (PST) project developing the next
release of CDE and Motif. "The plan has always been to complete both the
CDE-Motif project and Broadway by the end of this year," says Jim
Fournier, Director of Engineering. "We are confident in our ability to
deliver as planned."
About the X Consortium
Headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts, X Consortium, Inc. is a
not-for-profit industry consortium developing user interface standards
and graphics technology with over sixty members worldwide. Founded in
1993 as successor to the MIT X Consortium, the X Consortium enhances and
maintains the X Window System. In 1995, the X Consortium was named prime
contractor for development of the next release of CDE and Motif.
X Window System is a trademark of X Consortium, Inc.
Motif is a registered trademark of the Open Software Foundation, Inc.
The Open Group is a trademark of the Open Software Foundation, Inc. and
X/Open Company Ltd.
All other trademarks mentioned are the property of their respective owners.