eWeek is reporting that the Free Standards Group (FSF) have announced plans to split Linux specifications in two. The FSF is a body that certifies Linux OS distributions. It has decided to change its current methodology of having just one Linux Standards Base (LSB). The change will see the group moving over to two, one for the desktop, one for the server; introduction of the new plans could come in the next few months with the release of the next version of LSB. The LSB currently specifies a variety of objects that must be on Linux OSs, including standard libraries, commands and utilities, the layout of the file system hierarchy and more.
At the OSDL Linux Conference this week, Chris Maresca told attendees about the groups plans. "We decided that rather than add everything to the LSB core, it would be better to break this up into separate parts, the first of which is on the server side. We are thus looking at making the current, ongoing server work a branch of the LSB core." He went on to say that "As such, there will be different modules, and assembling a set of modules will give you the LSB server standard, while assembling another set of modules will give you the LSB desktop standard going forward."
The move could prove critical for Linux distributions in terms of their success; critics have long suggested that Linux suffers from an image problem, and that the system is only perceived to be usable on a server. No longer obliged to follow server guidelines on a desktop, the move could give vendors scope to make their distributions more "desktop friendly". It could also prove helpful to developing PC markets in Asia where Linux is enjoying good success. On the desktop, Linux currently holds ~4% market share, expected to rise to 7% by 2008. Microsoft Windows still occupies a massive chunk of the market at ~94%.
For more debate and discussion on Linux usability, have a look at this thread on the Neowin forums.
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