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Linux Vendors Rally Around Server, Desktop Specs

By Robert McMillan
April 24, 2006 12:00 PM ET

Computerworld - More than a dozen technology vendors, including IBM, Red Hat Inc. and Novell Inc., plan to support an integrated server and desktop Linux standard that's being unveiled by Free Standards Group Inc. at the Desktop Linux Summit 2006.

The FSG, which already has crafted a server-level specification called the Linux Standard Base, announced plans for a desktop version of the standard last October. The two specifications have now been integrated into Version 3.1 of the Linux Standard Base, which the FSG is due to release at this week's conference.

The combined standard should make it easier for application developers "to target the complete Linux platform," the group said, adding that it hopes the simplified development capabilities will help eliminate "a major hindrance for Linux desktop adoption."

Efforts to convince more software developers to create Linux versions of their desktop software have also been stymied because Linux supports both the GNOME and KDE desktop environments, making it hard to develop one piece of software that will run on all versions of Linux.

"The problem with standards on Linux is that there are currently too many of them," said Gregory Raiz, president of Raizlabs Corp., a software company in Brookline, Mass.

It will take hard work to create a standard that is compatible with both KDE and GNOME, said Bruce Perens, vice president of professional services at SourceLabs Inc. in Seattle.

"How they're going to pull it off will be interesting," Perens said. In the end, Linux providers may be forced to simply choose one of the desktop environments, he added.

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