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OpenDoc group sees no object

CI Labs, the organization charged with licensing OpenDoc component technology, votes itself out of existence.

Mike Ricciuti Staff writer, CNET News
Mike Ricciuti joined CNET in 1996. He is now CNET News' Boston-based executive editor and east coast bureau chief, serving as department editor for business technology and software covered by CNET News, Reviews, and Download.com. E-mail Mike.
Mike Ricciuti
2 min read
CI Labs, the organization charged with licensing OpenDoc component technology, has voted itself out of existence.

The organization will cease operation on June 30, according to president Teri Dahlbeck. CI Labs' board of directors voted to dissolve the company following reduced funding from sponsor companies, which include Apple, IBM, and Japanese software vendor Justsystem.

Apple executives earlier this month said the company was pulling the plug on OpenDoc. IBM, however, continues to support OpenDoc and a cross-platform object model called the System Object Model (SOM).

"The companies that manage the [OpenDoc] technology are not investing as much right now," Dahlbeck said. "We did the job of getting OpenDoc out into the market and helped create the component industry. We are a victim of our own success."

A more likely culprit may be the war between Microsoft and its ActiveX technology and Sun Microsystems' JavaBeans component specification.

Last week, Microsoft issued a letter to OpenDoc developers urging them to switch to Microsoft's ActiveX technology.

CL Labs' assets, including undisclosed funds, validation software, OpenDoc code, and information on more than 3,000 OpenDoc developers will be handed over to Apple and IBM, which sponsored the company.

Still unresolved are trademark issues involving the LiveObjects logo, the certification given to OpenDoc components verified by CI Labs. Dahlbeck said the trademark will likely be turned over to one of the three sponsors, or it may be shared by all three.

Several of CI Labs 15 employees are being offered positions with Apple and IBM, Dahlbeck said.

She said Apple and IBM may attempt to establish a university-sponsored program to keep OpenDoc alive. Dahlbeck said she is "looking to give OpenDoc code out to universities on the Linux model." Linux is a version of the Unix software perpetuated in part by university developers who distribute free updates and additions to the technology.

More than 3,000 OpenDoc developers are expected to receive a letter from CI Labs today informing them of the dissolution, Dahlbeck added.