New Industry Consortium Rallies Around Linux Standard Base

By Steven Vaughan-Nichols  |  Print this article Print


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Four major Linux companies are bonding together to create a united Linux core distribution around the Linux Standard Base with broad industry support.

Four international Linux powers are forming a new Linux consortium to create a common core implementation of the Linux Standard Base 2.0.

The Linux Core Consortium, or LCC, is expected to make its debut on Wednesday. The group is made up of four companies: Brazil's Conectiva SA, France's Mandrakesoft SA, Japan's Turbolinux Inc. and the United States' Progeny Linux Systems Inc. The new LSB 2.0-based implementation will serve as the core for each company's future Linux distribution products: Conectiva Enterprise Server, Mandrakesoft Corporate Server, Turbolinux Enterprise Server and Progeny Componentized Linux.

Like the now-defunct UnitedLinux, the LCC seeks to create a standardized Linux that will make it easier for ISVs and OEMs to support Linux with their products. Conectiva and Turbolinux were both members of the earlier organization. The LCC plans to make Linux more attractive to developers and vendors by simplifying ISV/OEM certifications on Linux by providing an industry-supported LSB reference implementation.

Ransom Love, the former head of Caldera and one of UnitedLinux's founding fathers, was involved in the creation of the LCC, but he is not leading the group. Instead, both a technical and management board with equal representation from each company will manage the LCC according to Jolene Watkins, director of marketing at Progeny.

The group will also be more open to new members, Watkins said. Indeed, other Linux vendors such as Red Hat Inc. and Novell Inc. have already been invited to join. While neither has joined at this point, both are giving the new organization their support.

"The availability of common standards plays a decisive role in the proliferation of Linux operating systems and applications on server and client systems worldwide, and we support the LSB and efforts of the Linux Core Consortium in developing and promoting these standards," said Alan Nugent, chief technology officer of Novell, in a statement.

"Red Hat is pleased to support the Linux Standard Base," said Karen Bennet, vice president of applications and tools at Red Hat, in a release. "ISVs and developers need clear-cut standards. The LSB and the Linux Core Consortium help balance the needs of enterprise customers, ISVs, and Linux vendors and will continue to keep Linux open."

Even Sun Microsystems Inc., which is pushing its own Solaris 10 operating system, found good things to say about the LCC. "Sun believes standards like the LSB help to reduce vendor lock-in and provide platform choice for customers and ISVs," said Glenn Weinberg, Sun's vice president of operating systems, in a statement. "Sun intends to fully support these standards and applauds the efforts of the Linux Core Consortium to keep these standards open."

The LCC also has the support of Computer Associates International Inc., the Free Standards Group, Hewlett-Packard Co., and the OSDL (Open Source Development Labs).

In addition to making Linux more attractive to ISVs and OEMs, the LCC is trying to strengthen the position of the LSB as an open de facto standard for Linux distributions. The LSB already has at least some support from all Linux vendors.

Click here to read more about the LSB.

Also like UnitedLinux, the consortium will support a joint development framework to pool their development efforts to create and maintain a common Linux distribution core. Member companies will build their products on top of this common core. The common core will be available in the first or second of quarter 2005, according to Watkins.

In particular, the LCC will be working on the implementation of LSB 2.0 with extensions defined in cooperation with the LSB futures group. The LCC will also follow the OSDL working group's guidelines. The group plans to initially port its LSB 2.0 standard Linux to the ia32, Intel EM64T, ia64 and AMD64 architectures on an 18-to-24-month release cycle.

In addition, the LCC is committed to increasing interoperability between the Debian and RPM (Red Hat Package Manager)-based Linux software packages and will work toward a common binary core that can form the basis of both Debian and RPM-based distributions.

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Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols is editor of eWEEK.com's Linux & Open Source Center and Ziff Davis Channel Zone. Prior to becoming a technology journalist, Vaughan-Nichols worked at NASA and the Department of Defense on numerous major technological projects. Since then, he's focused on covering the technology and business issues that make a real difference to the people in the industry.