Linux Standard for Software Development Moves Closer to Reality

Linux Standard Base and Linux Internationalization Initiative Incorporate, Gain Support from All Segments of Industry

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (May 8, 2000) - The Linux Standard Base (LSB) and Linux Internationalization Initiative (LI18NUX) announced today that they have incorporated under the name Free Standards Group. The newly formed Free Standards Group was organized to accelerate the use and acceptance of open source technologies through the application, development and promotion of standards for open source development.

The Free Standards Group has received endorsements from a growing number of industry corporations as well as from public interest groups such as the Debian Project. These milestones move the group significantly closer to its goal of creating a single Linux standard.

The Free Standards Group will draw upon its LSB and LI18NUX roots to ensure that the Linux operating system does not fall victim to fragmentation, breaking into multiple versions, each of which is supported by only selected applications. To prevent that, the Free Standards Group's members are promoting a specification, which, when implemented, will mean that any LSB-compliant application will run successfully on any LSB-compliant Linux distributions. While sensitive to the idea that Linux development should not be stifled, the group is working to define a common subset of Linux that will work for everyone, regardless of distribution.

With its incorporation and its commitment from key players in the industry, the Free Standards Group will be able to place additional resources behind the LSB and LI18NUX.

"The Free Standards Group's efforts will be an important component of the continued success of open source," said Linus Torvalds, Linux creator. "Standards such as the LSB and Li18nux help bring different companies and groups together to solve common problems and will help to advance Linux in a good way."

Daniel Quinlan, chair of the standards group commented, "Our progress over the last few months has been significant. Key companies and organizations are lining up behind us and the resources and funding we need to achieve our goals are coming in place. We have everything we need to move forward quickly in increasing compatibility among Linux and other open source distributions and in helping to support software vendors and developers to port and write software for open source such as Linux."

Members of the Free Standards Group's list of supporters include:

Atipa Linux Solutions
Caldera Systems
Corel Corporation
The Debian Project
Delix Computer
Enhanced Software Technologies, Inc.
Linux for Power PC
Linux Professional Institute
Metro Link
Open Group
Red Hat, Inc.
Software in the Public Interest, Inc.
Sun Microsystems
SuSE Linux AG
VA Linux Systems

About the Free Standards Group

The Free Standards Group is a nonprofit corporation organized to accelerate the use and acceptance of open source technologies through the application, development and promotion of interoperability standards. It encompasses the Linux Standard Base ( and the Linux Internationalization Initiative (

The Linux Standard Base was formed in 1998 to develop and promote a set of standards that will increase compatibility among Linux distriubtions and enable software applications to run on any compliant Linux system.

The Linux Internationalization Initiative is focused on software and application portability and interoperability in the International context.

To learn more about the Free Standards Group, please visit our web site at

ATTACHMENT: Quotes from Supporters of the Free Standards Group

First, a philosophical question. Is there freedom in restriction? In this case, yes. By supporting the Free Standards Group, Linux distributors are free to add unique value to Linux without breaking applications. We free developers to reach a broader audience. And most important, customers are free to purchase Linux solutions that fit their needs without fear that their applications will have compatibility problems. Ransom Love, President and CEO, Caldera Systems

We are happy to see the LSB taking this step in its evolution and hope that the incorporation will help them in their goal to set a good standard for Linux distributions. We are anxiously awaiting the first release of the Free Standards Group's LSB specification which will mark a big step forward in ensuring that Linux distributions will remain compatible and are looking forward to making sure we comply with it. Wichert Akkerman, Debian Project Leader

IBM is committed to working with the Linux community to build a better Linux. By supporting the Free Standards Group, we will help ensure a consistent platform for the industry and ISVs. As Linux matures, it is vital that we have open standards to enable all of us -- end-users and software developers alike-- to benefit from technology advancements that make Linux even more robust, scalable and reliable. Ross A. Mauri, Vice President, UNIX Software of IBM.

As financial and technical contributors to the Free Standards Group, we applaud this step forward. We believe the success of this project is critical to the future of Linux and the assurance of applications continuing to run on all Linux distributions. Pat Lambs, Chair, Office of the CEO, Linuxcare

We congratulate the Free Standards Group on this very important milestone. As we have moved forward defining our vendor-neutral standards for professional certification, we have seen up close the need for interoperability standards and believe that the LSB is critical to the expansion of Linux. Dan York, president of the Linux Professional Institute

MandrakeSoft considers LSB a key factor in making Linux the new OS which can be adapted by anyone all over the world. The LSB project will help all contributors, developers, corporations, users and everyone who is working to make Linux a viable alternative that can be used in different platforms, languages and countries. When we all work together, the development cycle will be simpler, faster and more efficient and that translates into less time needed to adapt and customize the development of applications towards a particular distribution. Eugene Clement, Product Design Manager, MandrakeSoft

Metro Link applauds The Free Standards Group's movement to develop and promote standards for free software. We directly support this through our employee, Stuart Anderson, chair of the Written Specification Subcommittee. We hope that all Linux distributions will embrace these standards to maintain the integrity of Linux and avoid the nightmares caused by a fractured operating system. Morgan Von Essen, Metro Link CEO and President

As a leading advocate of open systems, The Open Group is pleased to contribute to the Free Standards Group and supports its goals of a standardized base platform for the Linux system. The rapid achievement of this goal will increase the variety of applications available, delivering greater choice for buyers and a larger market for vendors. Andrew Josey, Director of Server Platforms, The Open Group

Formalizing the standard setting process in the Linux world will be of great help to users and developers alike. The Free Standards Group will be of benefit to builders of tools and applications for Linux-based operating systems. Paul McNamara, Vice President, Business Development, Red Hat, Inc.

Linux is a strategic platform for SAP, and the extremely positive feedback from our productive customers proves that it was the right decision to become the first provider of mission critical business solutions on Linux. With the Free Standards Group, we will be able to support more distributions while keeping our high quality standards. This means free choice for our customers and another step towards the enterprise for Linux. Karl-Heinz Hess, Member of the Extended Executive Board, SAP AG

The establishment of a single Linux standard will be incredible. It will help the Tarantella Division as it enters the Linux marketplace with products like Tarantella Express. LSB would also help SCO's Server Software Division by increasing Linux compatibility with SCO operating platforms. Finally, the SCO Professional Services Division would benefit by offering consulting services for LSB compliant Linux distributions. In the grand scheme of things, ISVs will reap huge benefits from a single Linux standard, which will increase the total number of applications available for Linux platforms. Overall, this will strengthen the power of both UNIX and Linux on Intel and increase the value of all platforms to the end user. Mike Orr, president of the Tarantella Division at SCO

The Free Standards Group is one of the key pieces to the success of Linux and Open Source. Clear-cut standards will be the basis to get even broader support from ISVs as well as customers for the Linux platform. The combination of well-defined standards and choice of vendors gives an obvious signal against any monopolistic tendencies in the software industry. Dirk Hohndel, Chief Technology Officer, SuSE Linux AG

TurboLinux is proud to support the Free Standards Group with financial backing and a full-time Open Source engineer. TurboLinux is committed to the success of the Free Standards group and open standards for Linux so that customers, application developers and hardware manufacturers know they can confidently build solutions around Linux. John Terpstra, Vice President Community Relations, TurboLinux.

There is only one Linux. The Free Standards Group's effort brings together key developers from the Linux community with vendors to make sure that software can run consistently wherever Linux is found--a key ingredient to the ultimate world dominance of Linux. Dr. Larry Augustin, CEO of VA Linux Systems.