COM on UNIX - Is it really new? (March 1998)

PDM investigates Landmark and Microsoft'sinteroperability push.

Microsoft's new COM on UNIX initiative was revealed in PDM Vol. 3 N 1 but is it really new? Not exactly, Microsoft signed a partnership agreement with Software AG in 1995 whereby this company was to port COM to other operating systems such as Linux, HP-UX, IBM's AIX and others including Sun Solaris. Results of these ports were first demonstrated at Object World West in San Jose way back in August 1996. The world does not exactly seem to have been set afire by this initiative perhaps because the world was not ready then. Is the world ready for COM on UNIX today? After all, the E&P IT world has settled fair and square on the Object Management Group's CORBA specification for interoperability. This is true for initiatives such as Open Spirit, the POSC Interoperability RFT and other independent interoperability initiatives such as CGG PetroSystems' Stratimagic plug-in. Schlumberger too made CORBA programming skills a prerequisite in a recent job ad in The Leading Edge.

NT thrust

There is another interpretation for Microsoft's renewed push for their COM technology and that is that they are taking CORBA as a serious obstacle to the push for (more) world domination through NT. The apparent alignment of Landmark with the COM camp is rather puzzling as the vast majority of Landmark's 100 million lines of code are on UNIX. COM is also a rather improbable way of interoperating with other E&P software environments which are practically all UNIX based. Are the recent Microsoft and Landmark announcements a spanner in the works of current interoperability initiatives? Alternatively is COM on UNIX a Trojan horse for NT's entry into E&P computing. We could conspire for ages. What Landmark is really saying here is - "forget interoperability with other (foreign) E&P applications, we're going to plug you straight in to the finance department".

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