An industry group has released the first version of a Linux specification intended to ensure that applications written in one version of Linux will be portable to other versions.
Commercial vendors and open source advocates have been working on a base set of libraries, APIs and interoperability measures which they refer to as the Linux Standard Base (LSB). Contributors include many of the major companies that sell Linux, such as Caldera, Red Hat, SuSE and Turbolinux, as well as IBM and Intel.
The Free Standards Group has released the LSB 1.0 specification to prevent some of the fragmentation that split Unix into several incompatible versions.
LSB 1.0 is made up of a common specification that describes those parts of an interface that remain constant across all hardware implementations, and a specification that describes the parts that are specific to a particular processor architecture.
Some Linux vendors believe the standardisation will make it easier for Linux companies to co-operate on basic technology as well as compete on higher-level features.
According to Scott McNeil, executive director of the Free Standards Group, an application will run on different versions of Linux, but that "it still takes some doing sometimes".
He added that the further standardisation of Linux is an important part of making it easier for companies to make software that works on Linux.
The Group was formed in May 2000 to oversee the standardisation effort, and a near-final copy of LSB was posted in May. The software is in beta testing and will be released in its final form by the end of the year.
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