X.400 is specified in US GOSIP and government contracts

The story of the GOSIPs is an interesting one.

Most governments, at one time in the eighties, passed declarations saying that government contracts for communications equipment must conform to international standards. I believe that the main reason for this was to break the stranglehold which IBM's SNA protocol held on large segments of the dataprocessing market; others might disagree.

Given the standards-political climate of the time, this meant ISO standards.

The problem with this was that at the time, products implementing ISO standards were few and far between. So, organizations chose one of two approaces:

Both these approaches led to a large installed base of Internet protocols, tilting the playing field rather dramatically, and subverting part of the intent of the GOSIPs.

Recently, more and more governments have taken to revising their documents, allowing or even requiring TCP/IP at the network layer, and allowing a choice between Internet protocols or OSI protocols at the service layer. The only two protocols that have seen some significant deployment as a result of the GOSIP mandates are X.400 and X.500.

Last modified: Tue Jul 18 21:01:31 1995