Practical Guide to the Open Brand
Copyright © January 1998 The Open Group
The Open Brand is signified by the "X" Device which can be associated
with and used in relation to IT systems that have been registered
with The Open Group as being fully conformant to one or more specific
defined sets of functionality known as Product Standards.
Its use is governed by the Open Brand Trademark License Agreement (TMLA).
Anyone wishing to register a product, or products, and
use the "X" Device must first sign the
Open Brand Trademark License Agreement
and thereby "warrant and represent" that any products they register
will fully conform to the identified Product Standard(s) and will
continue to do so.
An Open Brand Certificate is issued for each Registered Product
and an entry is made in the Directory of Registered Products
which can be found on The Open Group web site at
A single product may be registered as conformant to more than one
The Open Brand cannot, and does not, attempt to dictate the content of any
transaction in any specific supplier/customer relationship.
It does not attempt to force a purchaser to buy, or a supplier to
supply, items that the customer does not require. What it can, and does,
do is provide the mechanism through which, if a buyer wishes to procure
a product that is guaranteed to conform to a Product Standard, the supplier
will provide a fully conformant product in accordance with the terms of
the Open Group Trademark License Agreement.
The rules are very simple. The Open Brand applies to a product or product
range marketed by the supplier, and means that if a configuration matching a
particular Product Standard is ordered from that product range it will be
delivered in full, and all the conditions of the Open Brand Trademark License
Agreement will apply to it.
Anyone buying a Registered Product is guaranteed that:
The product conforms to the identified Product Standard.
The product conforms to all the specifications and standards, and
complies with any special conditions, identified in the Product
The product will continue to conform.
The product is guaranteed to remain conformant throughout fixes,
functional enhancements, and performance improvements. If it does
not continue to conform, its Product Registration, and the ability
to use the trademark, will be lost.
Any conformance problem will be fixed within the prescribed timescale.
In the real world, conformance problems may arise from time to time.
The Trademarks License Agreement requires that these must be corrected
in the defined timescale.
Product Standards relate to one or more of the following:
Software portability (through Application Programming Interfaces or
Application or system interoperability (through Protocols and Services)
Interaction with users or administrators
The detailed requirements for conformance are identified in each Product
Standard. They include both implementation detail and any specific testing
requirements. The Product Standard refers to formal standards,
CAE Specifications, or other standards or specifications that have
been adopted or defined by The Open Group and included in its
Standards Information Base (SIB).
The Standards Information Base forms part of The Open Group
Architecture Framework (TOGAF).
The Open Group Architecture Framework is explained on The Open Group
web site at
and the Standards Information Base is accessible at
It is important to note that one Product Standard can include another Product
Standard, and that additional conformance requirements may be included as a
requirement within a more comprehensive Product Standard.
Registration of a product requires that it conforms to the requirements of the
Product Standard. The Conformance Statement (see
states precisely how the specific product conforms. The process is shown in
the following figure:
Figure 1 The Path to the Open Brand
Following the merger of X/Open Company Ltd. and the Open Software
Foundation (OSF) to form The Open Group, the X/Open Brand (introduced in
1988) is now known as the Open Brand. Other terminology has also changed to
reflect the broader perspective of the Program. Profile and Component
Definitions are replaced by Product Standards. The acronym "XPG" has been
dropped (its expansion "X/Open Portability Guide" was dropped long ago).
Conversion tables from the old to the new terminology can be found on The
Open Group web site at
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