COMPAQ made a decision to provide Microsoft's COM on the OpenVMS operating system. This supported the strategy of seamless integration with the Windows NT operating system.
Implementing COM on OpenVMS involved porting COM code from Microsoft Windows NT to OpenVMS, as well as porting or implementing portions of the supporting windows NT interfaces and components on OpenVMS. While functional interoperability was the goal, this had to be undergirded by data interoperability. The canonical codeset for Windows NT is Unicode, while the canonical codeset for OpenVMS is DEC Multinational Code Set (MCS --essentially ISO-Latin-1, varying at only a few codepoints). The purpose of the COM implementation is to allow OpenVMS to serve as a data and object server to Windows NT, and so some means of accepting, manipulating and storing Unicode data on OpenVMS was required.
This paper explores the challenges of implementing the Unicode support needed to support COM on the OpenVMS operating system.
Discussion topics include:
Adding Unicode capability on OpenVMS
Implementing a Unicode-capable file system
Other Unicode support required for COM:
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