"Forking, the development of ever-so-slight (or possibly
not-so-slight) differences between versions or distribution of a
program, was a great concern at the LinuxWorld Expos in both Paris
and New York last week. At the former gathering, I spoke separately
on the issue with Robert LeBlanc, vice president for software
strategy of the IBM Software Group, and with Roland Dyroff, CEO of
Both men noted their companies' strong support for the Linux
Standards Base, the organization which is attempting to ensure
interoperability and to prevent any Unix-like fragmentation of
"According to LeBlanc, 'The concern in both the US and Europe is
fragmentation.' ... He said IBM has 'been actively pushing --
because we're not a distributor of Linux and we made a conscious
decision that we don't foresee, at least in the near future, being
a Linux distributor -- [to support] the Linux Standards Base (LSB).
We're driving an effort to get the LSB incorporated.' "
"Dyroff noted that the LSB 'wants to provide a definition of a
system [so] that an independent software vendor (ISV) has a target
to port to.' Dyroff explained, 'That means if you are an ISV
and your software works with LSB standard, then you can be sure
that it properly installs and works on any Linux distribution that
is compliant with that standard. While the project [has been]
running now for quite a while, you should expect to get some new
output very soon now.' "