Debian Distros Form Alliance
- By John K. Waters
Nine commercial distributors of Debian-based products have formed an alliance to maintain a set of essential programs, or packages, that will serve as a common foundation for each member’s distribution. The Debian Common Core Alliance (DCCA) aims to make Debian-based distros easier to support and ensure a consistent level of interoperability, with the ultimate goal of accelerating worldwide commercial adoption of Debian.
In the group’s words, the DCCA will “complement and strengthen existing Linux standardization efforts by collaborating on a single, Debian-based implementation of the LSB [Linux Standards Base] standard that will be deployed worldwide via the Linux distributions of Alliance members. This way, ISVs and IHVs can certify to a single, vendor-neutral standard platform while at the same time extending their reach into under-served geographies and markets.”
Founding members of the Alliance include credativ, KNOPPIX, LinEx, Linspire, MEPIS, Progeny, Sun Wah, UserLinux and Xandros.
The DCCA’s first planned release is the Debian Common Core, which is an operating system based on Debian 3.1 (also known as Sarge) and certified LSB 3.0, an open interoperability standard. These packages can be combined with member additions to attain LSB certification and achieve broad commercial acceptance and support.
The Common Core, which is expected in September, will become the basis for future releases of each DCCA member’s Linux distribution, though it will not be a distro itself. The DCCA intends to serve as a single point of contact for software and hardware vendors who want to ensure that their products will work with Debian.
Developed by the Debian Project, Debian is a free operating system based on the Linux kernel. Most of the project’s basic tools are based on code from the GNU Project, which was spearheaded by the Free Software Foundation and launched in 1984 to develop a free UNIX-style OS. (GNU is a recursive acronym for “GNU’s Not UNIX.”) The GNU OS uses the Linux kernel, and many variants (including Debian) are properly referred to as GNU/Linux.
“Debian GNU/Linux already enjoys worldwide acceptance, and by aligning around a common core, we make Debian more viable in the commercial world,” says DCCA leader Ian Murdock. “I’ve talked to a huge number of companies over the years that tell me their customers ask about Debian, but that they don’t know how to respond because they can’t figure out how to support it. The DCC finally gives them a way to do that. Through the combined strength of its members, the Alliance will fill in the gaps—such as LSB compliance—necessary to attract major industry partners and propel Debian to its rightful place in the enterprise space.”
John K. Waters is a freelance writer based in Silicon Valley. He can be reached