Open System Portability Checker Update (Sep 93)

New ports

OSPC has now been ported to the MIPS chip running SVR4.

OSPC running under SVR4 on MIPS provides the same functionality as supplied on all supported platforms.

OSPC has also been reported to Sparc running Solaris 2.1 and Alpha XLP running OSF/1 release 2. These ports provided us with the opportunity to update the platform profiles to reflect changes to platform characteristics.

Summary information

Some users have been asking for a more general method of summarising than that currently provided. The -SUMmary option has been changed to accept an integer value. The bit settings of this value being used to control how the summary information is broken down.

One OSPC customer is currently using this information to provide an estimate of the likely amount of effort needed to port a program from one platform to another. Of course the advantage of using OSPC for this job is that it not only provides an estimate but actually highlights where the changes need to be made.

Consultancy

Some companies have expressed a desire to have an independent third party check there code, rather than purchasing a copy of OSPC. So Knowledge Software are now offering a consulting service. Pricing is based on three daily rates, one for the first day, another for the second and third days and thereafter a standard daily rate.

Applications are checked using OSPC. The developer gets to keep the log files and receives a report on the standards conformance of their code. There is also plenty of opportunity to discuss the implications of the warnings being generated and what might be done to remove them.

For more information contact Knowledge Software on (0252) 520667.

AFCEA Europe

Armed Forces Communications & Electronics Association (AFCEA) is holding its 14th European symposium in Brussels during October. The symposium title is "Interoperability through Open Systems". Derek Jones will be presenting a paper entitled "Applications Open Systems Conformance testing" on the first day. For copies of this paper please contact Knowledge Software. For conference information contact Mr Loren Diedrichsen on Brussels 02-241 5012.

Posix in the UK

The UK Posix panel will be holding a meeting in central London on November 19. The main topic for discussion being application conformance to Posix.

The panel meets every three months to consider the UK position on Posix work being carried out at the ISO level. Panel members hear reports from UK experts present at ISO/IEEE meetings and also provide input into formulating the position the UK should take on matters of interest to us. The convenor, Dave Cannon, can be reached on (0392) 263956.

C language update

WG14, the ISO committee responsible for the C language has just published the first Committee Draft (CD) of an Addendum to the standard. This Addendum defines additional library functions for runtime support of multi-byte characters.

A parallel effort is also underway to produce the first Defect Report for C. This report contains a list of questions and answers concerning constructs described in the standard. Defect Reports were previously known as Interpretation Requests and arose out of problems various readers were having trying to understand what the standard actually said (sometime because of ambiguities in the wording). Needless to say OSPC is being kept up to date with decisions made by WG14 to resolve these queries.

Additional lint like checks

Users have been complaining that they invariably use two tools when porting applications. Why is this necessary? Well, now it is possible to use OSPC to perform lint like checking on the source code. The -LINT option provides all of the checking ability of your system lint. We have checked as many published sources as possible to ensure that all of the checks supported by 'Unix' lints are carried out.

Conformance to XPG

A growing number of OSPC users are becoming interested in conforming to XPG (we suggest XPG/4 rather than XPG/3). In fact one customer has a contractual requirement to prove this and is relying on OSPC to verify that the application does conform.

How is it possible to show that an application conforms to XPG? The secret is in the use of platform profiles. Obviously the target profile has to be XPG/4. But will this profile alone cause all non-conforming constructs to be flagged? Like many OSPC questions, we have to deal with the source platform. If the user selects the platform on which the software currently runs as the source platform then OSPC can extract the appropriate platform specific information from its database. With this source/target platform configuration both violations of the XPG interface rules and the use of platform specific services will be flagged.

Any program that can be processed by OSPC, using this configuration, without any warnings being generated will be XPG compliant.

Upgrades

Those customers with a current support agreement will be upgraded with the latest version of OSPC (2.3c) at the end of October.

We are sometimes asked about support for new platforms in the OSPC database. Most of this information is generated automatically. Given copies of the appropriate system headers files we are always happy to generate a database for a new platform on the condition that it can also be integrated into our own database. Creating a database from a standards document usually involves a lot of effort. So this service has to be charged.



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