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Open Source IT: Linux Vendors Team Up to Keep Linux from Splintering

May 17, 2000, 05:22 (8 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Paul Korzeniowski)

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"When Burst.com Inc. decided to port its software to Linux, the company ran head-on into a dilemma: which distribution to run the firm's software on. That's because the San Francisco, Calif. streaming media software supplier quickly discovered--as have many other independent software vendors--that it couldn't just port its code once and have it run on all flavors of Linux. The differences between the various Linux distributions meant that a separate porting effort would be required for each one. "

"A new ad hoc consortium, the Free Standards Group, is outlining a common set of features that will enable application software to run on all Linux distributions without being recompiled. The group, which brings together two existing Linux standards efforts, the Linux Standard Base (LSB) and the Linux Internationalization Initiative (LI18NUX), expects the first fruits of those efforts to emerge later this year. "

"The problem carries a touch of irony. When the operating system first started to gain attention, application portability was viewed as one of its major selling points. Unlike Unix vendors, Linux distributors all work with the same operating system kernel, which should have enabled third parties to run their applications on various distributions with little or no effort."

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