The Free Standards Group: Squaring the Open Source/Open Standards Circle

Posted by Andy_Updegrove on May 30, 2006 2:11 AM EDT; By Andy Updegrove
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Before there was Linux, before there was open source, there was (and still is) an operating system called Unix that was robust, stable and widely admired. It was also available under license to anyone that wanted to use it, and partly for that reason many variants grew up and lost interoperability - and the Unix wars began. The same thing could happen to Linux.

The Linux wars helped Microsoft displace Unix with Windows NT, which steadily gained market share until Linux, a Unix clone, in turn began to supplant NT. Unfortunately, one of the very things that makes Linux powerful also makes it vulnerable to the same type of fragmentation that helped to doom Unix - the open source licenses under which Linux distributions are created and made available. Happily, there is a remedy to avoid that end, and that remedy is open standards - specifically, the Linux Standards Base (LSB). The LSV is now an ISO/IEC standard, and was created by the Free Standards Group.

In this interview, the FSG's Executive Director, Jim Zemlin, and CTO, Ian Murdock, creator of Debian GNU/Linux, tell how the FSG works collaboratively with the open source community to support the continued progress of Linux and other key open source software, and ensure that end users do not suffer the same type of lock in that traps licensees of proprietary software products.

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» Read more about: Story Type: Interview; Groups: GNU, Linux

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