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CORBA is the acronym for Common Object Request Broker Architecture. It was developed under the auspices of the Object Management Group (OMG). It is middleware. A CORBA-based program from any vendor, on almost any computer, operating system, programming language, and network, can interoperate with a CORBA-based program from the same or another vendor, on almost any other computer, operating system, programming language, and network.

The first service-oriented architecture for many people in the past was with the use of Object Request Brokers (ORBs) based on the CORBA specification. The CORBA specification is responsible for really increasing the awareness of service-oriented architectures. 

Also see Object Request Broker (ORB) and OMG Interface Definition Language (IDL).

Organization: Object Management Group

More information: CORBA page on the OMG website

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More on the general topic: Prior Service-Oriented Architecture Specifications

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The Savvy Manager's Guide

Douglas K Barry is also the author of a book that explains Web Services, service-oriented architecture, and Cloud Computing in an easy-to-understand, non-technical manner.

Web Services, Service-Oriented Architectures, and Cloud Computing: The Savvy Manager's Guide

Web Services, Service-Oriented Architectures, and Cloud Computing: The Savvy Manager's Guide (Second Edition)

by with David Dick

This is a guide for the savvy manager who wants to capitalize on the wave of change that is occurring with Web Services, service-oriented architecture, and—more recently—Cloud Computing. The changes wrought by these technologies will require both a basic grasp of the technologies and an effective way to deal with how these changes will affect the people who build and use the systems in our organizations. This book covers both issues. Managers at all levels of all organizations must be aware of both the changes that we are now seeing and ways to deal with issues created by those changes.