Open System Portability Checker Update (Jul 96)

The Open Software Register

The Open Group (formed by the merger of X/Open and OSF) have announced an Open Software Register. The idea behind this register is that software vendors will have their application checked for conformance to API standards. A list of APIs used by an application, along with some general statistics on the use of non-conforming constructs are used as the basis of a conformance report. This report is registered with the OSR web site, on payment of a fee by the submitting company. The reports are publically available, at zero cost, to anybody visiting the OSR web site.

The new OSPC option -API generates information about each processed file that can then be collated into a form suitable for submission to the Open Group. See for technical details.

It is hoped that the creation of this registration service will show users the importance of ensuring that purchased software does conform to published standards.

NPL C testing service

NPL (National Physical Laboratory) have announced a C code testing service using the Model Implementation C Checker (from which OSPC was derived). This testing service will include both static and dynamic checking for strict conformance to the ISO C standard.

The service will involve NPL taking customer supplied C code. Processing it with the Knowledge Software tool set, and writing a management report on the problems they find.

A tutorial is being held at NPL on 4th September. Contact Brian Wichmann on 0181-943-6976, e-mail: for details. There is also a web page at

Year 2000

Management have finally woken up to the technical issues presented by the year 2000. One customer has asked us to look into ways that OSPC could be used to detect code that might need changing to support the new millennium. A number of constructs have been identified, some of which OSPC can already be configured to flag. For details check out the web page

If you have any further ideas for C constructs that you think will cause year 2000 problems, please let us know. Watch this space for details on the next OSPC release, due at the end of the year, and how it can help detect significantly more year 2000 problems.

Revising the C standard

The ISO committee responsible for C, SC22/WG14, have been working on C9X for over a year now. Early UK fears that classes would be added to C (the original US proposal even had them being incompatible with C++) have proven to be unfounded.

Current work includes resolving various C++ compatibility issues, integrating in the work of the X3J11 Numerical C Extensions Group, and adding the ability to write C in non ASCII characters sets.

A number of Defect Reports have also been published. The interpretations against ISO C made in these reports has been fed back into OSPC to ensure it remains compliant.

Other new features

OSPC now supports Amendment 1 to ISO C, C Integrity. This Amendment mostly deals with the runtime handling of multibyte characters. The title is a historical artifact. Statically the Amendment requires support for digraph characters, a new built in macro and a few new header files.

Checks can now be made to ensure that status flags set by calls to system services are tested after the call. This information has been integrated into the API database and new specifications can be written by the user.

The API database format has changed. This has resulted in faster load times and much lower memory requirements.

There have also been lots of small enhancements to the lint like checks and the general error reporting.

Linux/GCC Support

OSPC has now been ported to Linux. As part of the porting process, information on Linux was collected and added to the list of platforms supported by the Platform Profile machinery.

A bigger job was adding support for a variety of C language extensions supported by GCC. These included typeof, asm, attribute, inline and macro definitions with variable numbers of arguments.

As part of our support for the Linux system we have processed the kernel source code with OSPC and loaded the log files onto our web site. Hopefully the kernel developers will take note and fix the problems that have been highlighted. See for details.

Embedded SQL

Support for more vendor extensions to the SQL/2 standard continues to grow. Knowledge Software were also lucky enough to be able to test a beta version of the new NIST Intermediate SQL validation suite. As has happened with runs against other validation suites OSPC found more problems in the suite than the suite found in OSPC.

Web site

Along with everybody else in the computer business Knowledge Software have jumped on the World Wide Web bandwagon. You can find us at The site contains references to various articles, standards related information sources and previous issues of the OSPC Update.

Contact Details

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