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Linux interoperability improved

Arif Mohamed

A new version of a key Linux standard, Linux Standard Base (LSB), promises to boost interoperability between Linux applications and make it easier for developers to port applications based on C++ to Linux.

LSB 2.0 comprises a set of application programming interfaces, libraries and test suites. A key enhancement is support for 32- and 64-bit processor architectures from IBM, Intel and AMD, which are backing the standard.

It is also supported by the main Linux houses, including Novell SuSE Linux, Red Hat, and Turbolinux, and hardware suppliers IBM, Hewlett-Packard and Dell.

Mark Blowers, senior research analyst at Butler Group, said the standard would enable C++ code to be ported more easily to Linux. It could also reduce porting costs, because code would only need to be translated once for all subscribing Linux platforms.

Blowers added that large suppliers would port more of their enterprise applications to Linux. This would translate to more choice for users, in applications from accounting to customer relationship management, he said.

"The standard will stop Linux fragmenting, as Unix did in the past," said Blowers. "It is important to have Linux standards, both for hardware and software, and that all the Linux distributions subscribe to it, and also IBM, HP, Oracle and the independent software suppliers."

Dan Frye, vice-president of IBM's Linux Technology Centre, said, "LSB 2.0 represents another large step forward in the maturation of Linux as an enterprise operating system.

"Our customers demand interoperability between their applications and Linux. By pledging to certify to the LSB, we send a clear message that portability and the interoperability of a wide range of software is a top priority."


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