Building on a Standards

By Steven Vaughan-Nichols  |  Posted 2005-10-18 Print this article Print

Base"> Other ISVs expressed support for the plan as well. "Standardizing key libraries across multiple distributions will help us target Linux cost-effectively while supporting distributions all over the world. We look forward to working closely with the LSB Desktop Project and promoting their standards and guidelines in our products," said Kevin Foreman, general manager of Helix—an open-source media player—for RealNetworks.
On the hardware side, Intel, long one-half of the de facto Windows-Intel desktop alliance, is now strongly supporting Linux.
"With the formation of this project, Intel sees a promising future for Linux on the desktop," Danese Cooper, Intels senior director of open-source strategy, said in a statement. Intel recently consolidated its Linux efforts. "A standardized Linux will help end users, ISVs, our resellers and the community to achieve the goal of a successful and thriving Linux on the desktop," Cooper said. Read more here about Intels consolidated Linux strategy. "Having had a monopoly over the desktop, Microsoft [Corp.] has had the advantage of forcing their standards on users," said Kevin Carmony, president and CEO of Linspire. "Linspire supports the LSB as a way to help Linux users enjoy the same benefits of standardization that Microsoft Windows users have, but with open standards rather than closed, proprietary ones." The group will not be starting from a blank slate. The plan is for the desktop specification to be built on top of existing common practices and specifications, including the ones available from This is a group that has been working toward interoperability of X Window System-based GUIs since 2000. The first specification from the LSB desktop project is slated for publication in early 2006, with certifications commencing soon after. Compliant applications that undergo certification testing will receive a "Linux Standard Base Desktop" certification mark. Quandt said the effort may be successful, adding, "While there are other initiatives that target increasing the adoption of the Linux desktop, the LSB subcommittee can bring to the table an industry effort with real meat that can further the technical capabilities of the Linux desktop. The more vendors that participate in this initiative the more successful this initiative will be." With broad industry support, Zemlin said, the Linux desktop could challenge the Windows desktop. "As the standards are provided and then adopted, the Linux desktop will snowball. Microsoft can compete with a Sun, a Red Hat or a Novell, but they wont be able to compete with an ecosystem of Linux desktops," Zemlin said. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest open-source news, reviews and analysis

Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols is editor at large for Ziff Davis Enterprise. Prior to becoming a technology journalist, Vaughan-Nichols worked at NASA and the Department of Defense on numerous major technological projects. Since then, he's focused on covering the technology and business issues that make a real difference to the people in the industry.

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