on Tuesday August 18, @07:47AM
|Another Linux Standards Group?
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
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
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
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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