Group aims to smooth kinks out of Linux

Four Linux companies start a global effort to homogenize one version of the open-source operating system.

Four Linux companies on four continents have introduced a joint effort to homogenize one version of the open-source software.

The Linux Core Consortium was launched Wednesday by Conectiva, Mandrakesoft, Progeny and Turbolinux, which are headquartered in Brazil, France, Japan and the United States, respectively. The group will work to create a common core implementation of the Linux Standard Base (LSB) 2.0 guideline, which will serve as the nucleus for the companies' future Linux products.

LSB 2.0 is a software blueprint launched by Free Standards Group, an open-source proponent, in January 2004. The guideline aims to standardize how some aspects of Linux work, with the goal of making it easier for software makers such as those forming the Linux Core Consortium to create programs that run on different companies' versions of the operating system.

The Linux Core Consortium doesn't include the two dominant sellers of the operating system, Red Hat and Novell's SuSE. However, both have pledged support for the initiative, as have Computer Associates International, Hewlett-Packard and Sun Microsystems. Linux standards coalitions the Free Standards Group and Open Source Development Labs said they also will back the effort.

The Linux Core Consortium members said their "diverse geographic and market concentrations" will help advance industrywide Linux standardization efforts and further position LSB 2.0 as a de facto blueprint for software companies bringing new products to market. The group will attempt to simplify the certification process for companies that want to work with the guideline.

Turbolinux and Conectiva were members of a now defunct consortium called UnitedLinux that also tried to pool efforts for the operating system. That effort included SuSE and the SCO Group, now a Linux foe.

The group expects to release the common core before April next year. It will be included in Conectiva's Enterprise Server, Mandrakesoft's Corporate Server, Progeny's Componentized Linux and Turbolinux's Enterprise Server.

The Free Standards Group said the consortium marked a positive step in moving LSB efforts forward.

"The Linux Core Consortium takes (existing) support one step further by creating a binary implementation of the LSB that will help in our efforts to secure widespread certification," Jim Zemlin, executive director of FSG, said in a statement.

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