CA throws its weight behind Linux standard

The newly revamped Linux Standards Base has got three new supporters this week

CA throws its weight behind Linux standard The newly revamped Linux Standards Base has got three new supporters this week

Enterprise software vendor Computer Associates (CA) has backed the body behind the main cross-vendor Linux standardisation project in a move described by the body's chief as giving the effort "critical mass".

CA was the largest name of three companies who signed their names to the Free Standards Group's (FSG) membership roll this week, the others being Japanese systems integrator NTT Data and US-based Open Country, which sells Linux systems management tools.

The three will join existing members HP, IBM, Sun, AMD and Intel, as well as all of the major Linux vendors and other recently-joined members: Veritas, MySQL and Levanta.

The additional membership comes as the FSG this week released the latest version of its flagship Linux Standard Base (LSB) specification. The standard — which all the major Linux vendors adhere to — is the main technical assurance that software will run across different Linux distributions.

The FSG's executive director Jim Zemlin told ZDNet UK sister site ZDNet Australia the involvement of CA — which provides a number of services and software packages around Linux — was significant.

"It signifies that the LSB has achieved a critical mass of distribution adoption and the functionality required to provide value to CA," he said. "Independent software vendors have generally hung back to make sure a standard is formally adopted before getting involved."

"The effective standardisation of Linux implementations is essential for the growth of the market and for organisations to obtain maximum value from their technology investments," CA senior technical advisor Sam Greenblatt said in a statement.

CA will aid in a new FSG project designed to standardise systems management technology for Linux, with a particular focus on issues faced by software vendors. NTT Data, in contrast, will assist with internationalisation efforts.

Zemlin said the main difference between the new LSB 3.0 and its previous 2.0 iteration — released back in January 2004 — was that for the first time, all Linux vendors would need to comply with the same application binary interface (ABI) for C++.

The ABI is a specification for how applications interact with the operating system they are running on, how they interact system libraries, or even between different components of themselves.

The ABI compatibility would make it "much easier" to write software that would run on multiple Linux distributions, claimed Zemlin.

Red Hat, Novell, SuSE, the Debian Common Core Alliance and Asianux have announced the latest versions of their distributions comply with the new standard, with other vendors like Mandriva currently going through the certification process.

Renai LeMay reported from Sydney for ZDNet Australia. For more ZDNet Australia stories, click here.