Standardized Linux gains support

Four new versions of Linux comply with standards that make it easier to ensure software will run on different companies' versions of the Unix clone.

Four new versions of Linux have been certified to comply with guidelines set down by the Linux Standard Base, a group trying to make it easier for software to run on different companies' versions of the Unix clone.

Red Hat 8, SuSE 8.1, SCO Group OpenLinux 3.1.1 and MandrakeSoft 9 ProSuite all comply with the LSB's guidelines, according to the Free Standards Group, which oversees the LSB certification process.

The standards effort is an important part of ensuring Linux doesn't "fork" into multiple incompatible versions, as happened with Unix. The first LSB certifications arrived in August.

But while the certification helps keep dramatic differences from emerging, analysts and company representatives say it's not enough to guarantee that software designed with Red Hat Linux in mind will also work on SuSE, or vice-versa. A program such as a database, for instance, taps deep into Linux features that aren't governed by the LSB.

The Free Standards Group announced the opening of a second Linux certification program to ensure compliance with the OpenI18N standard, which governs how software is built to work with many different languages. The standard, formerly called Li18nux, covers such features as options for different currency, date formats, paper sizes and writing directions.

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