Linux Standard Base 4.0 Is Feature Rich

Oct 15, 2008

Linux Foundation has released its first beta of the Linux Standard Base (LSB) version 4.0. The providers have already promised developers an easier work environment through the SDK, shell script and application checker. The successes are logged in the FOSSBazaar workgroup.

Brian Profitt, community manager at the foundation, announces significant enhancements in the form of tools for application testing, shell scripts and a new SDK. The SDK should be compatible with previous LSB specifications without having to change the SDK. "Developers for the LSB won't be tied to a single version of the LSB," says Jeff Liquia, the technical lead for LSB 4.0, about the benefits of the new SDK, "and you won't have to uninstall and reinstall SDKs to target different versions of the LSB." Based on the LSB, software producers (ISVs) can concurrently operate different OS distributions with one software package, with the applicable certification. "We have a new set of LSB tools to make it easier for ISVs to develop applications that are LSB compliant," says Ted T'so, chief platform strategist and fellow with the Linux Foundation. The ISV's porting, support and testing costs should thereby be reduced and any future compatibility and application development should benefit from this concurrency.

A significant contribution is the new Application Checker that allows development of concurrent Linux applications. A beta 3 version has been available since August. Along with testing application compatibility of different distributions, the Checker also notifies if the tested software is eligible for LSB certification.

Portability is another reason for introducing a new specification for shell scripts. The promise is that they should work in any shell. The new shell script checker should catch potential cross-shell problems in scripts. The goal is that scripts in one distribution should run on another without a problem. T'so adds that 234 applications listed in the LSB Database Navigator are already close to LSB 4.0 certification.

LSB version 3.2 has been out since February; LSB 4.0 should replace it by end of this year. The beta version with its accompanying software tools is described in greater detail on the Linux Foundation website.

At the same time the Linux Foundation is showing heightened interest in the Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) workgroup. Created in January as the FOSSBazaar, the project has since almost doubled its enterprise members. Among the newest to join are Palamida, Black Duck and British Telecom. The leader of the workgroup is past Debian project leader Martin Michlmayr, also known for his work on the Open Source Initiative (OSI).

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