OMB tips hat to Mac and Linux

TRM v1.1

The Office of Management and Budget last week welcomed Linux and Apple Computer Inc. operating systems into the fold.

The latest version of the technical reference model (TRM), released Aug. 26, smooths out details lacking in the initial release and adds widely used technologies to make it more useful for information system developers.

TRM is one of five reference models that make up the federal enterprise architecture, an initiative managed by OMB and designed to foster information technology collaboration and coordination among agencies, and help reduce redundancy in programs, systems and investments.

The biggest change to TRM is the addition of Apple's Mac OS X and Linux to the operating systems, or "supporting platforms," section. In the previous version, the only platforms were Microsoft Corp.'s Windows 2000 and .NET, and Sun Microsystems Inc.'s Java 2 Micro and Enterprise editions.

Many agency workers — such as scientific groups at the Energy Department and the National Institute of Standards and Technology — use Linux. The National Security Agency has even developed a security-enhanced version of the open-source operating system, and NASA has a large Mac OS user base.

OMB officials were not available to comment on why they did not include the two platforms in TRM's first version or why they added them to the revision.

"It's a very good thing to have a broader acceptance of platforms that meet interoperability standards," said P.V. Puvvada, chairman of the Industry Advisory Council's Enterprise Architecture Shared Interest Group.

The group has been serving as a central advisory point for industry, OMB and the CIO Council's Architecture and Infrastructure Committee, and does not recommend specific products, but rather common approaches and open standards, Puvvada said.

This reference model is intended for use with the service component reference model. While the latter outlines common services — such as back-office or customer services — TRM identifies common technologies used to provide those services, so agencies can share and reuse technology investments.

The Federal Enterprise Architecture Program Management Office also cleaned up this version to be sure it used consistent definitions, illustrations and diagrams.

Agencies are already working with the second version of the business reference model, which categorizes all the lines of business government performs, and the final draft of the performance reference model (PRM), which aligns the performance measures between technology, service and mission.

The first official version of the PRM should be available soon, Bob Haycock, acting director of the program management office, said at a conference last month.

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Ready to serve

The technical reference model is split into four core service areas. Those areas are made up of technology types and standards that, building on one another, support the services provided governmentwide:

* Service access and delivery.

* Service platform and infrastructure.

* Component framework.

* Service interface and integration.

Source: Office of Management and Budget

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