Standards Base Unites Linux World

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2002-01-31 Print this article Print

The Free Standards Group has released two Linux standards platforms that it believes will allow true interoperability between the multitude of Linux distributions and also facilitate better internationalization capabilities.

NEW YORK – The Free Standards Group has released two Linux standards platforms that it believes will allow true interoperability between the multitude of Linux distributions and also facilitate better internationalization capabilities. In a press conference here at the LinuxWorld Conference and Expo on Thursday, the FSG released the Linux Standards Base 1.1, which provides a full set of standards that will allow Linux distributions and developers of Linux applications to work together seamlessly, and Li18nux, an internationalization guide for platform and application developers.
"Linux distributions are mixed and matched around the world, and each distribution releases its own version and variations at different times, meaning developers and ISVs have to support all of these," said Scot McNeil, executive director of the Free Standards Group, which promotes the use of open-source technology.
The LSB is also not just a written specification, but a test suite, a sample implementation and a build environment that allows the promotion of open-source methodology and that would help grow the Linux market, he said. David Patrick, CEO of Ximian Inc., which considers itself an ISV, welcomed the announcement. Ximian has attempted to support all of the various distributions, which meant it had to allocate resources to port its software to each one. "This is the best thing that has ever happened as we will now be able to take our engineers off supporting these multiple distributions and have them working on including innovative features for new products," Patrick said. John Hall, president of Linux International, an association that promotes the use of Linux, said the LSB is important for customers who want investment protection. "They spend hefty dollars on their applications, and the ability to buy applications written to a standard is a protection of that investment and will result in the development of faster, better and more innovative Linux systems," he said. Dan Fry, the head of IBMs Linux Technology Center, agreed, saying this was just one more reason why Linux is ready for the enterprise. A standards base allows ISVs to protect their investment and would drive Linux adoption even faster. Representatives from other major vendors also embraced the news. Ransom Love, CEO of Caldera International Inc., agreed that the Standards Base would broaden the reach of Linux and allow developers to write code once that would be able to run everywhere. Judy Chavis, director of Compaq Computer Corp.s Linux program office, said this would help the company, which supports all major Linux distribution. "Developing a set of standards that we can test against is very important," she said. Paul Cornier, executive vice president of engineering at Linux vendor Red Hat Inc., said the company is a strong supporter of standards and that this move would be good for the entire industry. "We intend to have an LSB-compliant Linux operating system out in less than a year," he said. The Free Standards Groups McNeil said the certification program will be launched in the next six months for both the Linux distributions and the applications that ran on top of them. Responding to the questions about the continued need for individual product certification, the vendors said this would continue but would not be as onerous as it currently is. The individual distributions would also differentiate themselves through different functionality and the end-to-end support that came with the integration of the various bits, they added.
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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