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  1. #1
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    Exclamation Linux Standard Base Adoption/Development

    Why have the distributions of the Linux Community forsaken the Linux Standard Base (LSB)? The whole point of the project is to put a stop to the completely unnecessary and incredibly harmful fracturing happening in the Linux distro community. Flatpak and Ubuntu Snaps just seem like a terrible fix for a MUCH larger problem. The Linux community needs standards for it to truly grow.

  2. #2
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    Re: Linux Standard Base Adoption/Development

    Don't know much about LSB. What exactly is LSB? I think the major issue between distroes are different versions of libraries which does not necessarily works identically for every version. But that is part of the development process, some things gets upgraded and some things are rewritten as found there is a better way of doing things. Expecting that all distroes will run the same libraries is not viable. There are distroes that orient on stability, then there are distroes that orient on latest software versions. As I understand LSB was about maintaining a stable API/ABI for all libraries so that software would work the same and all versions. If upstream does not cooperate, then I would say it is too much work for a distro to maintain this. Why was it dropped? I guess there is not enough interest in that and too much work. See why Debian dropped it: https://lwn.net/Articles/658809/

    From the article it seems LSB was about maintaining a separate tree of libraries of version that match LSB compliance.

  3. #3
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    Re: Linux Standard Base Adoption/Development

    According to Wikipedia:
    The goal of the LSB is to develop and promote a set of open standards that will increase compatibility among Linux distributions and enable software applications to run on any compliant system even in binary form. In addition, the LSB will help coordinate efforts to recruit software vendors to port and write products for Linux Operating Systems.
    Basically they wanted to provide a stable platform that commercial closed source software vendors could port their applications to.

    This rather quickly results in distributions having to support two sets of libraries, one of which would be out of date, with all the security and support implications that implies.

    Since few if any vendors took up the offer the idea seems to have been forgotten.

  4. #4
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    Re: Linux Standard Base Adoption/Development

    FWIW:

    As a large customer, LSB was attractive in concept. However, when you looked at what it took to achieve in practice it lost some of its luster. Driving all your software acquisition and development activity towards LSB compliance took significant incremental resources to assess and drive market solutions, or alternatively resulted in internal development for capabilities (non-compliant) already available in the marketplace.

    You found yourself, in effect, executing the functions a distribution packager using a sub-set of the upstream supply chain. Looking at the costs to benefits, it was much more logical to select an existing distribution supplier and drive market solutions and internal development thru that distro.

    At the ongoing operations level, resulting costs with any binary compatibility issues, were assessed to be less costly than driving LSB compliance.
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  5. #5
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    Re: Linux Standard Base Adoption/Development

    Quote Originally Posted by panaman
    Why have the distributions of the Linux Community forsaken the Linux Standard Base (LSB)?
    That is somewhat of an oxymoron - if they followed the LSB mantra they would not exist

    Quote Originally Posted by panaman
    The whole point of the project is to put a stop to the completely unnecessary and incredibly harmful fracturing happening in the Linux distro community.
    The linux community never "fractured" it "diverged" long before the LSB concept was considered.

    Quote Originally Posted by panaman
    Flatpak and Ubuntu Snaps just seem like a terrible fix for a MUCH larger problem.
    Yeah, kinda agree with that one!

    Quote Originally Posted by panaman
    The Linux community needs standards for it to truly grow.
    Whilst standards are not necessarily the enemy - they can, and do, stifle growth and innovation. There are numerous standards to which ALL distributions adhere - in their own way. Some even push beyond the "standard" and move everything forward - which benefits the entire community and ensures future growth for all.

  6. #6
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    Re: Linux Standard Base Adoption/Development

    Quote Originally Posted by satanselbow

    The Linux community never "fractured" it "diverged" long before the LSB concept was considered.
    Whats the difference? I believe its two words for the same thing.


    On Flatpak and Snaps:
    Quote Originally Posted by satanselbow

    Yeah, kinda agree with that one!
    How can you agree with Snaps and Flatpak covering up a much larger issue but also say standards are bad? I dont mean any disrespect, I just am curious. What larger issue do you think i was talking about?


    Quote Originally Posted by satanselbow
    Whilst standards are not necessarily the enemy - they can, and do, stifle growth and innovation. There are numerous standards to which ALL distributions adhere - in their own way. Some even push beyond the "standard" and move everything forward - which benefits the entire community and ensures future growth for all.
    With all due respect, I don't understand why so many people have the belief that standards stifle growth and innovation when MASSIVE examples to the contrary exist: Microsoft Windows, iOS app development. The creativity and freedom of choice that Linux is so passionate about is incredibly abundant in both. and those are just 2 examples

    Again, I don't mean any disrespect or to seem like an ass, I want to be open to new ideas and to learn, But i want to learn why the community has this attachment that standards stifle innovation when they clearly enhance it.

  7. #7
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    Re: Linux Standard Base Adoption/Development

    You seem to think shades of grey are as simple as black and white. I never claimed to speak for the entire Linux community... Have you ever worked in IT? Software / Web Dev??? Never had the "we can't do that it breaks the standard" chat???

    If you really hold MS and Apple up as innovators? Big business yes - innovative... Not really... Just good at throwing money at marketing campaigns.

  8. #8
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    Re: Linux Standard Base Adoption/Development

    Quote Originally Posted by panaman
    ...
    With all due respect, I don't understand why so many people have the belief that standards stifle growth and innovation when MASSIVE examples to the contrary exist: Microsoft Windows, iOS app development. The creativity and freedom of choice that Linux is so passionate about is incredibly abundant in both. and those are just 2 examples

    Again, I don't mean any disrespect or to seem like an ass, I want to be open to new ideas and to learn, But i want to learn why the community has this attachment that standards stifle innovation when they clearly enhance it.
    Interesting that you put forward Windows as an example.
    Back in the W3.1 days I bought my first Intel PC, and invested a considerable amount of time and money in software and coding for that platform. When W95 came out, I realised that if I stayed with Windows I would have to re-purchase all my software and recode all my programs every few years - a significant waste of time and money. I responded by getting a copy of Linux.

    On Linux I have compiled programs that were written decades before Linux was even an idea. So there are certainly some things in Linux that are standards based.

    Alternatively, I have moved from Fedora to Scientific Linux (a RHEL clone) because Fedora changes a bit too fast for the long term projects I tend to get involved with.

    The point is that there are some things which should be standardised, and some which should not. It would be good if more languages were standardised. C, C++ , Java and Python are good examples, but Lisp is a disaster area. Things like directory structures and the FreeDesktop stuff were good things to standardise. The LSB idea that libraries should be standardised, however, is not compatible with the way Linux open source software is developed and maintained.

    My basic point is that in an open source environment you don't need to standardise binaries since everything can be recompiled as necessary. The consequence of that is the Linux distributions are never going to provide a stable binary interface that commercial (closed source) developers can build to. Since this can mean building many versions of their software, they tend to put Linux support in the too hard/expensive category.

  9. #9
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    Re: Linux Standard Base Adoption/Development

    Standards are good. Like the Posix standards. Allows programs to recompile and run. One thing I do wish was 'standardized' is just locations of config files and naming. Networking comes to mind when setting up static IPs manually. Where do you do find file and change? Well it depends on distro and version of distro. Goggle/duckduckgo to the rescue. And then naming of interfaces moving from simple Eth0, Eth1 to longer names... Of course there is the different package managers like yum, dnf, pacman, apt, apt-get, rpm... I can see where a newbie (and even professional) can get a little 'frustrated' when setting up/trying out different distros.

  10. #10
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    Re: Linux Standard Base Adoption/Development

    Commercial software can bundle all the libraries that it needs, then it will work everywhere.

    systemd, NetworkManager pretty much standardized way of configuration of network, services. You can use nmcli to change network configuration.

    Also you don't have to know or use every distro out there, specialize in one of them and use that. Steam for example officially supports only one Ubuntu LTS release. But it is good to know at least two major ones, one rhel and one debian, and then you pretty much know all, or at least the ones that matters.

  11. #11
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    Re: Linux Standard Base Adoption/Development

    LSB for me is for the command line interfaces.

    And I had an interesting experience with LSB for the auto industry. I rented a Toyota Camray 2016, and in going through the buttons on the visual display, and lo-- a note that software therein was licensed under the GPL 3, without describing what it was .

    Linux LSB, YES!
    Leslie in Montreal

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