Organizations interested in the development of Linux received a
much needed boost Wednesday when the Free Standards Group released
the first version of the Linux Development Platform Specification
(LDPS). The LDPS is supported by 23 organizations, including
leading Linux vendors like Red Hat Inc., TurboLinux, SuSE Linux AG
and Caldera Systems, and hardware vendors like VA Linux Systems,
IBM Corp and Sun Microsystems.
The LDPS is intended to address fragmentation, an issue which
has dogged UNIX for years and threatens to make versions of Linux
released by different vendors incompatible with each other. That
could bring the adoption of Linux to a grinding halt, as
corporations -- frustrated by technical incompatibilities between
Linux applications and various distributions of the Linux OS --
might turn to other solutions.
Many believe that same sort of frustration drove many companies
years ago to turn away from UNIX (server makers initially offered
proprietary versions of UNIX to lock-in hardware buyers) and adopt
Microsoft's Windows NT operating system.
By establishing the LDPS, the Free Standards Group is hoping to
ensure that programs developed on a conforming platform will be
portable to all generally available Linux distributions as of Oct.
7. However, the group noted that the LDPS is not intended to be a
standard which tells distributors what to do. Instead, it is
intended as a recommendation to third-party developers about how to
create binaries that are the most likely to be portable.
"Standards allowing interoperability and portability are of
crucial importance for Linux," said Dan Kusnetzky, vice president
of system software research for IDC. "Survey after survey indicate
that IT management will feel comfortable adopting Linux only when
they feel confident that applications based upon one distribution
of Linux will be easily transportable to other Linux
According to the LDPS, a conforming development platform must
contain the following packages:
Linux kernel 2.2.x
ncurses 4.2 or 5
GCC version egcs-2.91 or GCC 2.95.x
According to the Free Standards Group, examples of distributions
that meet the LDPS include Caldera OpenLinux 2.4, Conectiva Linux
5.1, Linux-Mandrake 7.0, Red Hat Linux 6.2, SuSE Linux 6.4,
TurboLinux 6.0, Debian GNU/Linux 2.2, and Corel Linux OS Second
Edition. The group noted that this is not a comprehensive listing
of distributions that meet the specification.
"The LDPS is but the first of many planned specifications that
are aimed to help both Open Source developers and companies to port
applications to Linux," said Dan Quinlan, president of the Free
Standards Group. "Having a single development reference to work
from will greatly simplify the process of building Linux-based