Accession Number:

ADA310581

Title:

Standards: The Rough Road to the Common Byte,

Descriptive Note:

Corporate Author:

NATIONAL DEFENSE UNIV WASHINGTON DC INST FOR NATIONAL STRATEGIC STUDIES

Personal Author(s):

Report Date:

1995-05-01

Pagination or Media Count:

72.0

Abstract:

The proliferation of digital devices - each with its own way of representing and communicating information-has heightened the importance of getting these devices to talk to one another, to their applications, and to their users in mutually comprehensible tongues. Success speaking the common byte-is prerequisite to building organizational and national and, ultimately, global information infrastructures. Failure leaves islands of connectivity, keeps systems expensive, difficult to use, and inflexible, and retards the flow of useful technology into society. Information technology standards have been touted as a means to interoperability and software portability, but they are more easily lauded than built or followed. Users say they want low-cost, easily maintained, plug-and-play, interoperable systems, yet each user community has specific needs and few of them want to discard their existing systems. Every vendor wants to sell its own architecture and turbo-charged features, and each architecture assumes different views of a particular domain e.g., business forms, images, databases. International standards founder on variations in culture and assumptions in North America, Europe, and Asia for example, whether telephone companies are monopolies. Protests to the contrary, the U.S. government is a major, indeed increasingly involved, player in virtually every major standards controversy. This paper looks at the growing but confusing body of information technology standards by concentrating on seven areas The UNIX operating system, Open Systems Interconnection OSI, for data communication, the Department of Defenses Continuous Acquisition and Life-cycle Support program CALS, the Ada programming language, Integrated Services Digital Networks ISDN, narrowband and broadband, multimedia standards text, database, and image compression

Subject Categories:

  • Computer Systems

Distribution Statement:

APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE