The Free Standards Group Announces Availability of First Integrated Desktop Standard

April 25, 2006

At the Desktop Linux Summit, the Free Standards Group, a nonprofit organization dedicated to developing and promoting open source software standards, today announced the availability of the Linux Standard Base (LSB) 3.1, the first version of the LSB to include support for portable Linux desktop applications. This standard and newly enhanced developer support provided by the FSG will make it easier for application developers to target the complete Linux platform; thereby solving a major hindrance for Linux desktop adoption and providing a cohesive Linux desktop environment. LSB 3.1 also incorporates the recently approved ISO standard LSB Core (ISO/IEC 23360) into the standard. The Free Standards Group also announced today that Novell, Red Hat, Ubuntu and others are all certifying their versions of their operating systems to the LSB, delivering true world-wide coverage of LSB certified distributions. (See Quote Sheet featuring endorsements from fourteen vendors and community groups.)

The LSB has garnered support from all major vendors in the Linux Community including AMD, Asianux, CA, Dell, HP, IBM, Intel, Mandriva, Novell, RealNetworks, Red Flag, Red Hat, Turbolinux, Xandros and others. This groundswell of support is significant as it promises to keep Linux from forking and going the way of proprietary systems in the past. This support is even more important for the Linux desktop since it order for it to achieve wide-spread adoption, common application runtime and install time requirements must be standardized and adopted by key Linux distributions. Otherwise, application developers will be constrained, forced to compile to multiple instances of these libraries and distributions. With this complex and costly development and support environment, ISVs may choose not to target the Linux desktop, leading to reduced choice for end users and an inability to compete with proprietary operating systems. The Linux Standard Base eases this complexity by standardizing core pieces of the Linux (including libraries and other non-binary application behaviors) and encouraging ISVs to use its guidelines when developing for Linux.

“The Linux Standard Base makes things better all around for RealNetworks,” said Jeff Ayars, Vice President, BPS Technology, RealNetworks. “As an ISV it improves the reliability of our product by giving us a consistent platform to write to and test against and as a service provider that manages and maintains hundreds of Linux systems it provides us a more consistent system to administer and increases the pool of talented administrators for us to choose from.”

“Novell has been a long-time, active supporter of the Linux Standard Base,�? said Markus Rex, CTO of Open Platform Solutions for Novell. “The launch of this specification is an important step for Linux on the desktop. Standards like LSB are essential if ISVs are to target the Linux desktop. At Novell, we think the desktop market is extremely strategic, and we will continue to invest in driving desktop innovation and desktop standards.�?

“We are pleased to support the Linux Standard Base,�? said Paul Gampe, senior director of engineering at Red Hat. “Open standards enable open source software and are an important part of our open promise to our customers. We will work together with the Linux community to continually improve and support the Linux Standard Base.�?

“LSB-compliance is very important for Ubuntu,�? said Mark Shuttleworth, Ubuntu founder and chief developer. “We believe that Linux offers the world freedom of choice, freedom to innovate and freedom to localize. The Linux Standard Base is a crucial enabler of those freedoms, creating confidence in the standardization of the core platform while still preserving the ability of the platform to evolve and improve.�?

With the availability of the standard, the Free Standards Group is also introducing its own certification services for the North American market. Certification is available for both distribution vendors and independent software vendors through the new Free Standards Group LSB website (

In addition to the inclusion of the desktop and the ISO standard, major themes of the LSB 3.1 release include:

“The Linux community realizes that open and well supported standards are the best way to reach the broadest set of desktop users,�? said Jim Zemlin, executive director of the Free Standards Group. “With the group of distributions already pledging support for the standard, we are covering the vast majority of the Linux market. That coverage combined with this desktop standardization delivers a compelling environment for ISVs wishing to target the Linux desktop. This announcement effectively eliminates one of the major barriers to adoption of the Linux desktop.�?

The latest versions of these Linux distributions will be achieving LSB compliance in the following months:

About the Free Standards Group
The Free Standards Group is an independent nonprofit organization dedicated to accelerating the use and acceptance of free and open source software by developing and promoting standards. Key Free Standards Group projects include the Linux Standard Base (LSB), OpenI18N, OpenPrinting and the Accessibility Workgroup. Supported by leaders in the IT industry as well as the open source development community, the Free Standards Group fulfills a critical need to have common behavioral specifications, tools and ABIs across Linux platforms. More information on the Free Standards Group is available at