Free Standards Group finds new support in Asia

The industry group has roped in Fujitsu to promote open-source standards across the region.
Written by Aaron Tan, Contributor

The Free Standards Group (FSG) has roped in Japanese IT powerhouse Fujitsu to support its Linux standardization efforts in Asia.

Jim Zemlin, executive director of FSG, told ZDNet Asia in an e-mail interview that Fujitsu will "provide engineering support and educate their customers on the importance of standards".

In particular, the Japanese company will help to resolve issues that Asian Linux vendors face through standardization, for example, by standardizing the system used to input text characters for Asian languages, Zemlin said.

During his keynote address at the LinuxWorld Tokyo conference today, Zemlin noted: "Open source is only one part of the equation when it comes to freedom of choice in software."

"One of the advantages of open source is that you have access to the source code, which you can choose to 'fork' and modify as you see fit," he explained. "This is good for innovation, but [it] also comes at a price."

Through standardization, the Linux community will ensure a far larger ecosystem of applications and hardware platforms, he said, noting that the Linux industry has decided to standardize its products to capture a broader market.

Establishing a standard Linux platform will also attract wide ISV (independent software vendor) support and provide users with a risk-free, broadly-used operating system platform, Zemlin said. "Few users and ISVs are willing to buy into more than one [Linux] system," he added.

Early this year, the FSG started a Linux lab in China to promote Linux standards in the country. According to Zemlin, Chinese Linux distributions such as Red Flag, CS2C and Sun Wah Linux, are now being certified against the Linux Standards Base (LSB) administered by the FSG. The LSB is a set of binary common standards that enhance interoperability between Linux machines.

Masatoshi Yoshida, general manager at Fujitsu's Linux software development division, said in a statement: "We believe the FSG and the LSB are very important in growing the Linux market.

"The Linux Standard Base will make it easier for ISVs to support Linux and their customers," Yoshida said.

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