ZDNet: Giving Linux a home base
Evan Leibovitch continues his interpretation of the history of the LSB. He argues that “the LSB has been working on the tough and unsexy tasks of defining a standard, creating a sample implementation, and testing for compliance.” (Unsexy?) Evan also hits on several recent LSB milestones (LDPS 1.1, Li18nux, FHS 2.2), applauds the participation of The Open Group, and pines for the anticipated release of LSB 1.0. (For now, he says, “I think it has been correct to do it right rather than rush it.”)
Excerpts from the article:
So where exactly is the complete LSB specification at this time? Right now it’s at version 0.7.4 and moving ahead rapidly. “You will see a successful LSB 1.0 in 2001 or I’ll publicly eat my tennis shoe,” Scott McNeil, LSB spokesman, told me.
That’s good to hear, because the LSB really needs to have its spec out this year. Waiting three years hasn’t really been much of a problem. After all, it’s taken that much time for Linux to reach an installed base (not to mention the technical maturity) capable of attracting conventional commercial developers. But as Linux moves further into the computing mainstream, the absence of a standard porting platform forces developers to take matters into their own hands, as I described in my previous column.
I’d especially prefer not to have a situation in which applications companies feel pressed into making their own Linux distributions, specially designed to run their software…
Or, worst of all, developers will just shrug their shoulders at the whole perception of Linux fragmentation and not develop for the platform at all.
It’s critical for the LSB specification to produce a stable target for Linux developers, especially for vendors of proprietary packages that won’t come with source code. While it’s important that LSB adherence be optional — not every specialized distribution has the need to run proprietary applications — the existence of a cross-vendor standard will become rapidly accepted throughout the community once it’s out.
I know and like many people within the LSB. I like the path it has taken, and I think it has been correct to do it right rather than rush it. Would I have preferred a full spec sooner? Of course–who wouldn’t? But in reality, the long wait is acceptable given the pubescent stage of Linux’s maturity as a mainstream OS.