Architecture for Public-Key Infrastructure (APKI)
Copyright © 1998 The Open Group


Open Group Guide
Architecture for Public-Key Infrastructure (APKI)
Document Number: G801
ISBN: 1-85912-221-3

©March 1999, The Open Group All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of the copyright owners.

Any comments relating to the material contained in this document may be submitted to The Open Group at:

The Open Group
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or by electronic mail to:


The Open Group

The Open Group is the leading vendor-neutral, international consortium for buyers and suppliers of technology. Its mission is to cause the development of a viable global information infrastructure that is ubiquitous, trusted, reliable, and as easy-to-use as the telephone. The essential functionality embedded in this infrastructure is what we term the IT DialTone. The Open Group creates an environment where all elements involved in technology development can cooperate to deliver less costly and more flexible IT solutions.

Formed in 1996 by the merger of the X/Open Company Ltd. (founded in 1984) and the Open Software Foundation (founded in 1988), The Open Group is supported by most of the world's largest user organizations, information systems vendors, and software suppliers. By combining the strengths of open systems specifications and a proven branding scheme with collaborative technology development and advanced research, The Open Group is well positioned to meet its new mission, as well as to assist user organizations, vendors, and suppliers in the development and implementation of products supporting the adoption and proliferation of systems which conform to standard specifications.

With more than 200 member companies, The Open Group helps the IT industry to advance technologically while managing the change caused by innovation. It does this by:

The Open Group operates in all phases of the open systems technology lifecycle including innovation, market adoption, product development, and proliferation. Presently, it focuses on seven strategic areas: open systems application platform development, architecture, distributed systems management, interoperability, distributed computing environment, security, and the information superhighway. The Open Group is also responsible for the management of the UNIX trademark on behalf of the industry.

Development of Product Standards

This process includes the identification of requirements for open systems and, now, the IT DialTone, development of Technical Standards (formerly CAE and Preliminary Specifications) through an industry consensus review and adoption procedure (in parallel with formal standards work), and the development of tests and conformance criteria.

This leads to the preparation of a Product Standard which is the name used for the documentation that records the conformance requirements (and other information) to which a vendor may register a product.

The "X" Device is used by vendors to demonstrate that their products conform to the relevant Product Standard. By use of the Open Brand they guarantee, through the Open Brand Trade Mark License Agreement (TMLA), to maintain their products in conformance with the Product Standard so that the product works, will continue to work, and that any problems will be fixed by the vendor.

Open Group Publications

The Open Group publishes a wide range of technical documentation, the main part of which is focused on development of Technical Standards and product documentation, but which also includes Guides, Snapshots, Technical Studies, Branding and Testing documentation, industry surveys, and business titles.

There are several types of specification:

In addition, The Open Group publishes:

Versions and Issues of Specifications

As with all live documents, Technical Standards and Specifications require revision to align with new developments and associated international standards. To distinguish between revised specifications which are fully backwards compatible and those which are not:


Readers should note that Corrigenda may apply to any publication. Corrigenda information is published on the World-Wide Web at

Ordering Information

Full catalogue and ordering information on all Open Group publications is available on the World-Wide Web at

This Document

This document is a Guide (see above).

The Open Group PKI Task Group continues to refine and extend these requirements; comments should be sent by electronic mail to


Motif®, OSF/1®, UNIX®, and the "X Device"® are registered trademarks and IT DialToneTM; and The Open GroupTM; are trademarks of The Open Group in the U.S. and other countries.

The Open Group acknowledges that there may be other products that might be covered by trademark protection and advises the reader to verify them independently.


The Open Group gratefully acknowledges the work of the Open Group Security Program Group, in particular the PKI Task Group, in the development of this Guide, and also the following individuals:

Anne Anderson, Hewlett-Packard Company
Charles Blauner, JP Morgan & Co. Inc.
Belinda Fairthorne, Fujitsu-ICL
Warwick Ford
Robert Jueneman, Novell, Inc.
Ellen McDermott, Open Market
Howard Melman, formerly OSF
Denis Pinkas, Groupe Bull
Walt Tuvell, formerly OSF
John Wray, Compaq Computer Corporation

Additionally, the following organizations contributed to the specification of the requirements.

Amdahl Corporation
Barclays Bank plc
Digital Equipment Corporation
Electronic Data Systems
GUIDE International
Harris Corporation
Hewlett-Packard Company
IBM Corporation
Information & Support Group
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
JP Morgan & Co. Inc.

Lockheed Martin
NCR Corporation
Pacific Gas & Electric
Shell International
Sun Microsystems, Inc.
Sweden Post
Telecom Finland Ltd.
The Open Group
U.K. Ministry of Defence
U.S. Dept. of Defense/DISA
U.S. Dept. of Defense/NSA
Veritas Software Corporation

Referenced Documents

Open Group Documentation

Further details about these and other Open Group documents can be found at:


These documents may be found at:

IETF PKIX Documentation

The latest versions of these documents can be found at:

Other IETF Documentation

The latest versions of these documents can be found at:

IPsec Working Group Documentation

The IETF IPsec Working Group documents can be found at:

Standards Documentation

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