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Another Linux Standards Group?
LinuxPosted by CmdrTaco on Tuesday August 18, @07:47AM
from the this-is-gettin-crazy dept.
I'm getting confused keeping up with all these, but I'm assuming the various groups will sort out who is doing what. Anyway, Several folks have written in about the Linux Standards Association that has been created to help standardize Linux. Click the link to read the official release.

The Linux Operating System (LOS) has been a developing project since it's first initial release in 1991 by Linus Torvalds, a studant at University of Helsinki, Findland. Over the course of the last 7+ years, 1000's of developers have contributed to the Linux kernel, support software, applications and finally a complete operating system. It is a credit to each and every developer involved that Linux has now reached the level of recognition which it currently enjoys.

Large commercial organizations within the Independant Software Vendor (ISV), Independant Hardware Vendor (IHV) and Operating System Vendor (OSV) communities have now taken notice of Linux. These organizations have, are or will be announcing support for and use of Linux in their products. The needs of the commercial vendor are, in some respects, different than those of the current Linux community. With the growing number of such announcements taking place, the time has come for the Linux community to examine the product it produces.

Commercial development is directed to delivery of a working product to consumers. It is a fundamental requirement of this process that the operating system involved be consistent, stable and well known. The cost involved in certifying a product for delivery is a significant portion of the final cost of any product. Another significant cost to commercial development is the post-delivery technical support required by customers to install, configure and operate the product.

With such a high cost of producing and supporting a product in any operating system environment, each ISV and/or IHV has to define, in very specific detail, the platform they will support. Unfortunately, the task of defining the delivery platform within the realm of Linux is daunting. There are more than a dozen different commercial and non commercial versions of the LOS, each supplied by an OSV with a different perspective on what makes up a Linux system.

With ISV and/or IHV forced to make a choice of platform to support, the consumer is faced with being locked into a platform if they wish to use a particular product. The cost of training and software deployment involved in a particular platform are a significant part of the total cost of ownership. Having been locked into a particular platform, the consumer is now restricted to using products which are also certified on that platform. Installing multiple different platforms to bring together a collection of applications will cause the TCO for the consumer to grow almost exponentially.

This diversity has, in large part, allowed Linux to develop into the powerful system currently available. Each developer has the complete freedom to develop a feature, improvement or widget without need to consider how it affects others. The time has come, however, for the community to accept and adhere to a minimum standard for what constitutes the Linux Operating System. Failure to create, define and promote such a brand standard will result in the commercial support for Linux falling to the side as ISV and IHV realize that the costs of participating will exceed the benefit of sales.

With this in mind, we are forming a non profit corporation to be known as the Linux Standards Association (tm) (LSA). The purpose of the LSA is to define a minimum standard for the Linux Operating System based around already defined, extensively deployed and recognized standards. These standards will allow ISV, IHV and OSV to port existing applications and develop new products that will interoperate with minimal effort on the part of all involved parties.

A test suite of programs will be developed and released which can be used by an OSV to certify their product against the ratified standards. A mimimal version of the Linux Operating System will also be assembled and provided for ISV and IHV to use as a test platform for their products. This distribution, to be known as "Standard Linux (tm)" and will be available to the public and potential OSV for use in developing their own distribution.

The LSA, in support of the defined standard, will produce, market and support service and trade marks which indicate comformance to the developed standard. These marks will be available by license to everyone demonstrating conformance with the standard. Regular members of the LSA will enjoy the use of an additional mark indicating their supporting role for the standard.

Membership in the LSA is available to all interested parties. Two levels of membership are being offered. An "Observer member", available at no cost, is welcome to participate in discussions about various aspects of the standards. Participation is limited to online forums, mailing lists and announcements. A "Regular member", with payment of the annual fee, will participate in discussions, submit proposals for the standard and vote on issues within the standard.

The future of Linux is directly tied to the support of the applications and hardware that are available to its users. Membership and participation in the LSA provide your organization an opportunity to shape the LOS to meet the needs of your product(s). Much as Linux has been the cooperative effort of many dedicated users, the standard will be the result of the cooperation and mutual respect of the members of the LSA.

Interested parties may visit Linux Standards to review the charter and other materials. You may also complete our online forms to register for membership or join our announcement list. Your comments and suggestions are welcomed. Email inquiries may be directed to the manager of Public Relations, Lucy Kendall at lucy@linuxstandards.org.

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