Online Reporter hails arrival of IIOP

Rohit Khare (
Mon, 26 Aug 96 13:57:27 -0400

Online Reporter is a bit, hmm... sensationalist. Take this all with a large
grain of salt. And also, please note that we are trying to stay out of this




Chris Stone may get his dearest wish yet - that his IIOP protocol
becomes the basis of the Internet. The Object Management Group
boss last week saw Netscape co-founder, Mark Andreessen, stand up
before an audience of 1,500-2,000 vendors and users and back IIOP
as the replacement for the Web's HTTP during his Object World
keynote in Silicon Valley. Stone, who has been hinting for
several months that an HTTP upset was what he was after, said
later "it made my year" and justified the last seven he has put
into OMG.

Earlier this month, Netscape of course threw its considerable
weight behind the OMG's Internet InterORB Protocol, effectively
giving it a Corba-dyed object strategy. Both Galileo, its next-
generation browser, and Orion, its next-generation servers, are
now supposed to be IIOP-based.Netscape's move is widely believed
to have spooked Microsoft into suddenly and radically
volunteering to put its object technologies, ActiveX, COM and
DCOM, into some kind of standards body.

Andreessen last week equated the future of the Web with IIOP -
since HTTP is supposedly not strong enough to carry the weight it
is being asked to bear - increasing further the pressure on
Microsoft to come to terms with Corba, the OMG object technology
for which it has little use. Andreessen predicted that a year
from now, because of Netscape, there would be 20 million IIOP-
based browsers running on the desktop as well as a million IIOP
servers. It is use that will popularize IIOP, according to the
Gartner Group's Internet watcher David Smith, who says any next-
generation Web protocol is more likely to be defined by Netscape
or Microsoft than a consortium. Smith doubts IIOP will replace
HTTP, though he thinks it might augment it. He thinks we'll
eventually see URLs that are IIOP but most of them, he said, will
be hidden from the user.

Meanwhile, some quarters now claim that Microsoft must either
pour a fortune into DCOM or capitulate to Corba. The ideal - from
the OMG's point of view - would be for Microsoft to immediately
embark on an IIOP implementation for COM. Redmond could of course
accept a half-way position that leaves OLE-COM and ActiveX
controls the arbiter of the desktop and IIOP as the way to
distribute apps on the Web but even that would seem to be very
hard for Microsoft to countenance strategically.

Netscape's unqualified support for IIOP could also mean that the
OMG might eclipse the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), HTTP's
progenitor and the standards body Microsoft may be eyeing as a
place to house Activex. It may also force JavaSoft, which despite
Sun's involvement in creating IIOP, has pretty much ignored it to
Stone's chagrin, to finally make it central. Andreessen counseled
users to demand their vendors start using IIOP and implement it
themselves. The OMG acknowledges that IIOP is little known,
especially among the critical ISV community, and that it has to
embark on a serious educational campaign. Stone himself was
gratified to observe that after the keynote he couldn't even see
the OMG booth for all the bodies that flooded it - even if it was
a little booth.

>From 26-30 August issue [Issue No. 013],

- - - - - - - - -

If the eventual standards home of ActiveX remains a mystery, so
does the timing of the meeting which is supposed to decide its
fate. As previously reported, the meeting has slipped from its
original mid-August time frame to... well, no-one knows. Not
even, it seems, the Burton Group which is meant to be organizing
the thing. The latest gossip has it that Tim Berners-Lee,
director of the W3C, has decided that the Consortium is an
inappropriate vehicle. That might account for the delay since the
W3C is one of Microsoft's favoured options.

However a Consortium spokesperson vehemently denied that any
decision had been taken, saying that anything is still possible.