Open Software Foundation

What Does Open Software Foundation Mean?

The Open Software Foundation (OSF) was a nonprofit, industry-sponsored organization founded in 1988 to build an open standard for an implementation of the Unix OS. The OSF’s Unix reference implementation was called as OSF/1, and was first released in December, 1991.


OSF aimed to promote open computing to uphold a wide, cross-platform industry standard that could be widely implemented on distributed computing and the distributed computing environment (DCE).

OSF merged with X/Open in February, 2006, which is now known as The Open Group.

Techopedia Explains Open Software Foundation

The foundation evolved in response to the possibility that AT&T and Sun Microsystems would merge Unix systems. The organization was funded by Apollo Computer, Groupe Bull, Digital Equipment Corporation, Hewlett-Packard, Nixdorf Computer, Siemens AG and IBM, also known as the "Gang of Seven". Phillips and Hitachi later joined the league as membership swelled to include more than 100 companies.

The first Unix reference implementation of OSF was called OSF/1. IBM provided the advanced interactive executive (AIX) operating system, which was intended to be passed through to the member companies of the organization soon after its launch. Due to delays and portability issues, the OSF staff postponed the original plan. A year and a half later, a new Unix-based operating system, which included components from all over the industry, was designed and released to support a wide range of platforms that showcased both portability and vendor neutrality.

Some of the significant technologies developed under OSF include Motif, the distributed computing environment (DCE), a widget toolkit, and a bundle of distributed network computing technologies.


Related Terms

Latest Cloud-Native Development Terms

Related Reading

Margaret Rouse

Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…