Linux Standard Base Advances

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2004-09-20 Print this article Print

The Free Standards Group releases Linux Standard Base Version 2.0 that runs on both 32 and 64 bit systems. Most major Linux distributors plan to support it.

In a move that should go a long way toward preventing fragmentation of open-source Linux distributions, the Free Standards Group last week announced the availability of availability of Linux Standard Base 2.0—and support for it by most major Linux distribution vendors.

With 2.0, distributions that comply with LSB will now interoperate with application software written to the standard. The latest release includes a new ABI (application binary interface) for C++ that will enable software vendors to port applications to Linux. As a result, users should see an increase in application choices.

"Thousands of applications are written in C++," Jim Zemlin, the FSGs executive director, told eWEEK.

Support for 32- and 64-bit hardware architectures, including Intel Corp. platforms; IBMs PowerPC 64, S/390 and S/390x; and the 64-bit Opteron from Advanced Micro Devices Inc., has also been added to 2.0.

The new version updates some of the basic specifications and implementations underlying LSB and adds support for Single Unix Specification 3.0. LSB 2.0 also comes with test suites and a development environment, a sample implementation of a complete LSB-based distribution, and developer documentation.

Click here to read why industry analysts believe the Linux Standard Base will help increase the acceptance of Linux in the enterprise.

Companies that support LSB 2.0 include AMD, Conectiva, Dell Inc., Hewlett-Packard Co., IBM, Intel, Mandrakesoft S.A., Novell Inc., Red Flag Software Co. Ltd., Red Hat Inc. and Turbolinux Inc.

Linux vendors can write to the specification "starting immediately, but the process will take several months for all the distributions to certify, depending on their release cycles," Zemlin said.

Dan Frye, vice president of IBMs Linux Technology Center, in Beaverton, Ore., said LSB 2.0 is a big step forward in the maturation of Linux. "Our customers demand interoperability between their applications and Linux," Frye said. "By pledging to certify to the LSB, we send a clear message to our customers and ISVs that portability and the interoperability ... is a top priority for IBM and the industry."

Jon "Maddog" Hall, executive director of the nonprofit Linux International, of Amherst, N.H., said that as a developer, having to port his application to two Linux distributions was "one distribution too many. The LSB provides that specification. Without this, we are no better than the proprietary Unix systems of old."

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Peter Galli has been a financial/technology reporter for 12 years at leading publications in South Africa, the UK and the US. He has been Investment Editor of South Africa's Business Day Newspaper, the sister publication of the Financial Times of London.

He was also Group Financial Communications Manager for First National Bank, the second largest banking group in South Africa before moving on to become Executive News Editor of Business Report, the largest daily financial newspaper in South Africa, owned by the global Independent Newspapers group.

He was responsible for a national reporting team of 20 based in four bureaus. He also edited and contributed to its weekly technology page, and launched a financial and technology radio service supplying daily news bulletins to the national broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, which were then distributed to some 50 radio stations across the country.

He was then transferred to San Francisco as Business Report's U.S. Correspondent to cover Silicon Valley, trade and finance between the US, Europe and emerging markets like South Africa. After serving that role for more than two years, he joined eWeek as a Senior Editor, covering software platforms in August 2000.

He has comprehensively covered Microsoft and its Windows and .Net platforms, as well as the many legal challenges it has faced. He has also focused on Sun Microsystems and its Solaris operating environment, Java and Unix offerings. He covers developments in the open source community, particularly around the Linux kernel and the effects it will have on the enterprise.

He has written extensively about new products for the Linux and Unix platforms, the development of open standards and critically looked at the potential Linux has to offer an alternative operating system and platform to Windows, .Net and Unix-based solutions like Solaris.

His interviews with senior industry executives include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Linus Torvalds, the original developer of the Linux operating system, Sun CEO Scot McNealy, and Bill Zeitler, a senior vice president at IBM.

For numerous examples of his writing you can search under his name at the eWEEK Website at


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