Standardizing the Penguin

Three of the leading Linux distros became Linux Standards Base (LSB) certified last week, according to the Free Standards Group. MandrakeSoft S.A., Red Hat and SuSE Linux AG were each certified as adherents to the community- and industry-developed standard for both Linux distributions and Linux-based applications.

The LSB, a workgroup of the Free Standards Group, is an independent, non-profit organization that is, in the group's words, ''dedicated to accelerating the use and acceptance of open source technologies through the development, application and promotion of standards.'' The LSB standardizes the core functionality of Linux and the suite of GNU tools. The Free Standards Group is headquartered in Oakland, Calif.

Scott McNeil, Free Standards Group executive director, said the LSB was developed through collaboration between community developers, Linux distribution companies, ISVs and system vendors. An LSB Certification pilot program was launched in January. The goal of the program was to develop and promote a set of standards that would increase application compatibility across Linux distributions. Applications operating in the standardized framework, as defined by the LSB, should dramatically increase their stability and compatibility.

''This rapid adoption illustrates just how important compatibility is to LSB Certified companies and their customers,'' McNeil said in a recent media release. ''Linux as a technology and market has truly matured.''

Added George Kraft IV, LSB workgroup chair, ''[LSB] was designed to give users and developers the highest confidence that whatever LSB Certified Linux distribution or program they work with meets the highest possible adherence to the standard.''

The Free Standards Group also announced that it would launch its Linux Internationalization Initiative (Li18nux) Certification later this quarter. Li18nux standardizes internationalization capabilities for Linux distributions and Linux-based programs, said McNeil. Li18nux Certification will be similar to LSB Certification in its stringent requirements, including vendor-neutral, third-party verification. Several Linux distributions have already become Li18nux compliant under the Li18nux compliance pilot program, according to Kraft.

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About the Author

John K. Waters is a freelance writer based in Silicon Valley. He can be reached at


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