Systems Management: Distributed Software Administration
Copyright © 1997 The Open Group


CAE Specification
Systems Management: Distributed Software Administration
Document Number: C701
ISBN: 1-85912-149-7

©January 1998, 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
Apex Plaza
Forbury Road
Berkshire, RG1 1AX
United Kingdom
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.

The Development of Product Standards

This process includes the identification of requirements for open systems and, now, the IT DialTone, development of 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 X/Open 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 specification development 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, CAE 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
System administration utilities vary widely between vendors, and system administration is an area where to date no formal standards have achieved significant industry-wide acceptance.

This Distributed Software Administration (XDSA) specification, which is based on the IEEE 1387.2 Software Administration Standard, addresses this problem, for software administration in both stand-alone and distributed environments. XDSA defines a software packaging layout, a set of information maintained about software, and a set of utility programs to manipulate that software and information. It extends the IEEE 1387.2 Standard by adding significant functionality to deliver enhanced update and patch facilities.

This specification, like the IEEE 1387.2 Standard, specifies distributed operations without specifying the mechanism for how it is to be achieved. The Open Group has published a specification defining interoperability for XDSA, which uses the Distributed Computing Environment (DCE) Remote Procedure Call (RPC) mechanism - see referenced specification XDSA-DCE. The Open Group wishes to embrace other interoperability mechanisms for distributed XDSA working, so hopes to publish further such specifications as and when sufficient industry support for them becomes evident.


A Glossary and Index are also provided.

Typographical Conventions
The following typographical conventions are used throughout this document:


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 the Institution of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc., and the use of the IEEE 1387.2 Standard as the basis for development of this Distributed Software Administration (XDSA) specification.

Referenced Documents

The following documents are referenced in this specification:


ISO/IEC 646:1991, Information Processing - ISO 7-bit Coded Character Set for Information Interchange.


ISO/IEC 9945-1:1996, Information Technology - Portable Operating System Interface (POSIX) - Part 1: System Application Program Interface (API) [C Language] (identical to ANSI/IEEE Std 1003.1-1996). Incorporating ANSI/IEEE Stds 1003.1-1990, 1003.1b-1993, 1003.1c-1995 and 1003.1i-1995. ANSI/IEEE Standard 1003.1-19961.


ISO/IEC 9945-2:1993, Information Technology - Portable Operating System Interface (POSIX) - Part 2: Shell and Utilities (identical to IEEE Std 1003.2-1992 as amended by IEEE Std 1003.2a-1992).

ISO/IEC 10646

ISO/IEC 10646-1:1993, Information Technology - Universal Multiple-Octet Coded Character Set (UCS) - Part 1: Architecture and Basic Multilingual Plane.

POSIX 1387.2

IEEE Std. 1387.2-1995, Information Technology - Portable Operating System Interface (POSIX) System Administration - Part 2: Software Administration.


CAE Specification, February 1997, Systems Management; Distributed Software Administration - DCE-RPC Interoperability (XDSA-DCE) (ISBN: 1-85912-137-3, C430), published by The Open Group.

The following documents provide additional bibliographical references for associated information:

Desktop Management Task Force, Desktop Management Interface Specification, Version 1.0, 29 April 1994.2

ISO 639: 1988, Code for the representation of names of languages.3

ISO/IEC 2022: 1994, Information processing - Character code structure and extension techniques.

ISO 2047: 1975, Information processing - Graphical representations for the control characters of the 7-bit coded character set.

ISO 3166: 1993, Codes for the representation of names of countries.

ISO 4217: 1995, Codes for the representation of currencies and funds.

ISO/IEC 4873: 1991, Information technology - ISO 8-bit code for information interchange - Structure and rules for implementation.

ISO/IEC 6429: 1992, Information technology - Control functions for coded character sets.

ISO/IEC 6937: 1994, Information technology - Coded graphic character set for text communication - Latin alphabet.

ISO 8601: 1988, Data elements and interchange formats - Information interchange - Representation of dates and times.

ISO/IEC 8806: 1991, Information Technology - Computer graphics - Graphical Kernel System for Three Dimensions (GKS-3D) language bindings - Part 4: C.

ISO 8859, Information processing - 8-bit single-byte coded graphic character sets.

ISO/IEC 9899: 1990, Programming languages - C.4

ISO/IEC 10164-18: 1997: Information Technology - Open Systems Interconnection - Systems Management - Part 18: Software Management Function.

ISO/IEC 10646-1: 1993, Information technology - Universal Multiple-Octet Coded Character Set (UCS) - Part 1: Architecture and Basic Multilingual Plane.

ISO/IEC TR 10000-1: 1992, Information technology - Framework and taxonomy of International Standardized Profiles - Part 1: General principles and documentation framework.

ISO/IEC JTC1 N1335, Final Report of ISO/IEC JTC1 TSG-1 on Standards necessary to define Interfaces for Application Portability (IAP).

International Organization for Standardization/Association Fran'c[??]'aise de Normalisation (ISO/AFNOR, 1989): Dictionary of Computer Science/Dictionnaire de L'Informatique.

IEEE Std 100-1992, IEEE Standard Dictionary of Electrical and Electronics Terms.

IEEE Std 1003.0-1995, IEEE Guide to the POSIX\(rg\d Open Systems Environment (OSE).

IEEE P1003.1a/D12, Draft Revision to Information technology - Portable Operating System Interface (POSIX\s-6®\d) Part 1: System Application Program Interface (API) [C Language]5

IEEE P2003/D7, Standard for Information Technology - &Test Methods for Measuring Conformance to POSIX\s-6®\d.

IEEE P2003.2/D11, Standard for Information Technology - Test Methods for Measuring Conformance to POSIX\s-6®\d - Part 2: Shell and Utilities.

RFC 819, Su, Z. and Postel, J. B. Domain naming convention for Internet user applications.6

RFC 822, Crocker, D. - Standard for the format of ARPA Internet text messages.

RFC 920, Postel, J. B. and Reynolds, J. K. Domain requirements.

RFC 921, Postel, J. B., Domain name system implementation schedule - revised.

RFC 1123, Braden, R. T., Requirements for Internet hosts - application and support.

RFC 1514, Grillo, P. and Waldbusser, S., Host Resources MIB

American Telephone and Telegraph Company, System V (five) Interface Definition (SVID), Issues 2 and 3.7

University of California at Berkeley - Computer Science Research Group, 4.3 Berkeley Software Distribution, Virtual VAX-11 Version, April 1986.

Guide, May 1992, Systems Management: Identification of Management Services (XIMS), (S190), published by The Open Group.

Guide, Sept 1993, Systems Management: Managed Object Guide (XMOG), (G302), published by The Open Group.

CAE Specification, March 1994, Systems Management: Management Protocols (XMP) API, (C306), published by The Open Group.

Guide, Sept 1993, Systems Management: Reference Model (XRM), (G207), published by The Open Group.

Preliminary Specification, August 1994, The Common Object Request Broker: Architecture and Specification, (C432), published by The Open Group and OMG8.

XPG3, February 1992, Portability Guide, Issue 3 - 7-volume set plus Overview, (T010), published by The Open Group.

July 1996, The Single UNIX Specification - 5-volume set for UNIX 95, (T910), published by The Open Group.


IEEE publications are available from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, 445 Hoes Lane, PO Box 1331, Piscataway, NJ 08855-1331, USA.

DMTF documents can be obtained via the World Wide Web from

ISO/IEC documents can be obtained from the ISO Central Secretariat, Case postale 56, 1 rue de Varemb'e´', CH-1211, Gen'e`'ve 20, Switzerland/Suisse.

IEC documents can be obtained from the IEC office, 3 rue de Varemb'e´', Case Postale 131, CH-1211, Gen'e`'ve 20, Switzerland/Suisse.

Numbers preceded by "P" are IEEE authorized standards projects that were not approved by the IEEE Standards Board at the time this publication went to press. For information about obtaining drafts, contact the IEEE.

Internet Requests for Comments (RFC) are available from the DDN Network Information Center, SRI International, Menlo Park, CA, USA 94025.

Available from AT&T, Morristown, NJ: UNIX Press, 1986, 1989.
This is one of several documents that represent an industry specification in a related area. The creators of such documents may be able to identify newer versions of relevance.

Available from The Regents of the University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA.

Joint publication with the Object Management Group.

[??] Some characters or strings that appear in the printed document are not easily representable using HTML.

Why not acquire a nicely bound hard copy?
Click here to return to the publication details or order a copy of this publication.

Contents Next section Index