Linux application development got a little easier this week with the Free Standards Group's release of the Linux Standard Base (LSB) 1.0 specification, which is designed to ensure that applications work the same on all versions of Linux.
Linux application developers, particularly those who deliver more specialized applications and services, have had difficulties making the core of their products work with Red Hat's version of Linux -- considered by many to be the standard -- and, for instance, the version by TurboLinux.
This has prevented some promising applications from getting accepted or even known by the wider user and development communities. But the LSB specification is seen by some as an important first step toward offering a set of guidelines for programmers to create applications that run uniformly across the several top distributions of the operating system and beyond.
"Hopefully the top few distributors can all agree to get along on this, because it not only gives me more flexibility in mixing and matching versions of Linux as I need to, but also the confidence that these guys can pull together a unified programming front against Microsoft (Corp.)," said Del Crandell, a programmer with a large Houston-based oil company.
The LSB attempts to establish all of the key technical pieces of Linux. It essentially defines a system interface for compiled applications as well as the bare environment for supporting installation scripts.
The LSB specification is comprised of two basic essential parts: a common part that describes those parts of the interface that remain constant across all hardware implementations and an architecture-specific part that describes the parts that are specific to a particular processor architecture.
Users and developers wanting more information on the specification can go to www.freestandards.org or www.linuxbase.org.