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15 October 2008, 14:02

Beta version of the LSB 4.0 Linux standard released

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The Linux Foundation has released a public beta version of Linux Standard Base 4.0 (LSB 4.0). The final version of the specification is slated to appear before the end of the year and should make it easier for programmers and software vendors to develop applications which can run on various Linux distributions.

The Linux Foundation lists a revamped application and shell script checker, as well as a new Software Development Kit (SDK) as some of the most important updates to LSB 4.0. The SDK is not tied to a specific version of the LSB and can be used to write applications for the current LSB 3.2 or older versions. The Linux application checker tool, based on a test framework developed by the Russian Academy of Sciences and the Linux Foundation, examines applications' binary data and gives an assessment of how well a particular application would run under LSB-certified distributions.

The new shell-script checker does the same thing for shell scripts, catching potential cross-shell and cross-platform incompatibilities. The tool is designed to ensure that scripts that pass its test are able to run on a variety of systems. For cryptography, the foundation is pushing Mozilla's Network Security Services (NSS), as well as Netscape Portable Runtime (NSPR) Open SSL because of their better downward compatibility. The reference implementation is now no longer based on Linux from Scratch, as was the case with earlier versions of the LSB, but rather on tools by rPath.

The Linux Standard Base is under continuous development by a special working group in the Linux Foundation. LSB-compatible software should run on all distributions that support the standard. The specification, as well as the beta release tools, are available to download now.


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