Linux standard improves C++ support

C++ applications compiled with the latest versions of the GNU Compiler Collection can now be easily ported to multiple Linux distributions, which should help prevent forking

The Linux Standards Base (LSB) now offers improved support for C++, meaning that software compiled using the latest versions of the GNU Compiler Collection (GCC) can be run on any distribution that supports the standard.

LSB is a specification that aims to standardise how some aspects of Linux work, with the goal of making it easier for software makers to create programs that run on different companies' versions of the open-source operating system.

LSB 3.0, which was released on Monday, includes an update to the C++ application binary interface (ABI) — the platform-specific interface used by compiled code to access libraries and OS features. The ABI has been changed to the one used by GCC 3.4 and is thought to be compatible with GCC 4.0 also, according to the LSB 3.0 release notes. The new ABI is for the first time supported by all major Linux distributions, according to the Free Standards Group (FSG), which develops and maintains LSB.

Red Hat, Novell and Asianux have already said they will certifying the latest versions of their operating systems to LSB 3.0. The recently formed Debian Common Core Alliance will also support LSB.

"Next month's release of the common core for Debian-based distributions will be certified to the LSB, meaning future versions of major Debian-based commercial distributions will be LSB-certified," said Ian Murdock, the founder of Debian and the leader of the DCC Alliance, in a statement.

A number of software makers have already agreed to support LSB, including storage vendor Veritas, database vendor MySQL and management software vendor Levanta. The FSG said on Monday that Computer Associates, which is one of the largest ISVs for Linux, has also added its support to the standard.