"Much has been said of late regarding the possibility that Linux
will fragment into incompatible versions. Some of the speculation
has been well reasoned, some not."
"The least credible argument has been that Linux will fragment
because UNIX did. This completely ignores the market dynamics that
caused UNIX to fragment, and consequently why these dynamics do not
apply to Linux. UNIX was a means to an end, and the end was to sell
unique hardware solutions. Linux is the means to a completely
different end: a free (as in free speech), reliable, scalable open
source solution. Linux is, in a sense, an end unto itself."
"While much can be said about the potential for Linux to
fragment, one should observe that there have been remarkably few
compatibility issues across Linux versions to date. One can
thank the open source nature of Linux for this feat. However, there
are incompatibilities today that make it inconvenient to support
multiple Linux distributions. Surely the entire Linux market can
benefit from solving these compatibility issues without robbing
from Linux providers their ability to differentiate their
"Enter the Linux Standard Base. The goal of Linux Standard Base
(LSB) is to develop and promote standards that will increase
compatibility among Linux offerings and enable software
applications to run on any compliant Linux system. In addition, LSB
will help coordinate efforts to recruit software vendors to port
and write products for Linux."