NeXT pitches feds with support for POSIX, GOSIP

by Stuart Silverstone

Washington, DC With a recent technology seminar for government executives as the backdrop, NeXT made a strong pitch to the federal market by announcing support for the POSIX and GOSIP interoperability standards for NeXTSTEP 3.0. NeXT also announced support for the C2 government security specification.

Technology to make NeXTSTEP 3.0 compliant with these standards will be available in the fourth quarter.

POSIX (Portable Operating System Interface), based on UNIX, provides a common ground for software, so that any application developed under POSIX can run on any compliant platform, including UNIX, IBM PC, or Macintosh systems. GOSIP (Government Open Systems Interconnection Profile) is a cross-platform network protocol that provides interconnectivity between all government installations.

While some federal agencies buy noncompliant hardware, most require support for POSIX and GOSIP. NeXT's support for the standards should help boost government sales, which accounted for about 20 percent of the company's North American revenues in the last fiscal year, according to NeXT CEO Steve Jobs.

Responding to questions about government uses of NeXT, Jobs commented that "intelligence gathering is apolitical. We're creating information tools."

The technology seminars attracted about 350 federal agency executives, computer developers, and systems integrators.

"I'm grappling with where the technology fits into our organization," said Charles Fletcher, director of information systems at Airbus Industrie, the European airplane manufacturer. "At the right price, it could displace personal computers."