Caldera, MandrakeSoft Linux get certified

The latest Linux operating systems from MandrakeSoft SA and the former Caldera International Inc. have been certified as compliant with the specifications of the Linux Standard Base (LSB), which is helping to create a standardized Linux core to benefit users, software developers and systems administrators.

In an announcement Tuesday, the nonprofit Free Standards Group said it has certified Caldera OpenLinux 3.1.1 and Mandrake Linux ProSuite 9.0 as adhering to the group's specifications.

Caldera OpenLinux is owned by The SCO Group in Lindon, Utah, which recently changed its name from Caldera International.

"Both Caldera OpenLinux from SCO and Mandrake Linux ProSuite have passed a true milestone, assuring users that these two products meet the highest possible adherence to the LSB standard," Scott McNeil, executive director of the Oakland, Calif.-based Free Standards Group, said in a statement. "That companies continue to apply for LSB certification demonstrates how important standards are to the continued growth of the Linux market."

The LSB is a working group under the Free Standards Group, which strives to standardize the core functions of Linux so application developers can spend more time building programs for the platform rather than having to customize their work for each different Linux distribution.

Andy Nagle, SCO's director of Linux products, said the new standards achievement "should lead to an environment whereby the number of certifications and test scenarios that independent software vendors need to go through is greatly reduced."

The standards will also be important to SCO and its partner companies later this year when the four-vendor UnitedLinux effort releases the first versions of its operating system, which will also be LSB-certified.

According to Jacques Le Marois, CEO and co-founder of Paris-based MandrakeSoft SA, "The Linux Standard Base is a standard that is going to be massively supported by the computing industry in the near future."

Dan Kusnetzky, an analyst at IDC in Framingham, Mass., said that developing the standards has likely been challenging, with so many different players involved. But it will no doubt be worthwhile.

"It means that any applications developer can more easily develop applications for Linux," Kusnetzky said. "My suspicion is that all of the principal members of the open-source community will announce compliance, because it helps the whole community."

In other Linux news, SuSE Linux AG said its version of Linux has been chosen as the first Linux enterprise operating system to be officially certified by German software maker SAP AG to run its suite of e-business applications for customers.

In an announcement yesterday, SuSE was also named as the first Linux SAP Global Technology Partner to serve customers worldwide.

Holger Dyroff, general manager of the Americas for SuSE, said the partnership "will bring us inroads, especially into bigger enterprises using SAP now."

The two companies had already been working together as partners, but this deal solidifies and expands those earlier ventures, Dyroff said.

Last year, SuSE Linux Enterprise Server for the 32-bit architecture (x86 hardware platform) was awarded the status "generally available for" But the latest partnership means that companies all over the world will be able to use on SuSE Linux Enterprise Server while taking advantage of services and support from SAP, according to both companies.

Since May, has been available on SuSE Linux Enterprise Server on IBM eServer zSeries servers.

Kusnetzky said the partnership between the two German companies is helped because they likely have similar corporate styles and target markets, especially in Germany and Europe, where SuSE is strong. But for SAP, the partnership with SuSE is probably just a start in the Linux world, he said.

"I think in the longer run, SAP will [also] be forced to certify" competing Linux distributions, including Red Hat Inc., Debian and UnitedLinux, Kusnetzky said.

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