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
* Two byte or four byte wide character support
* Basic Unicode function support

Implementing a Unicode-capable file system
* Internal and external Unicode representation
* Pre-existing I18N capability
* Supporting future versions of Unicode

Other Unicode support required for COM:
* RPC between Windows NT and OpenVMS
* I18N for Win32.

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24 January 1999, Webmaster