While divisions and differences rage on among Linux and open source vendors, two Linux-focused standards and technology organizations recently joined forces, at least ostensibly, for the betterment of the open source operating system and community.
The two groups here are the Open Source Development Lab (OSDL) and the Free Standards Group (FSG). Instead of calling itself OSDLFSG, the group will be known as The Linux Foundation — luckily for us.
While both FSG and OSDL promoted the use of Linux and open source software in general, each group had its specific focus.
The FSG's main effort was the development and maintenance of a Linux Standards Base (LSB), a base set of criteria for software developers to write code for Linux. The parameters — which all major Linux distributions adopted — made sure software written to the LSB would work across multiple Linux platforms.
OSDL took a more targeted approach to Linux standardization, with its Carrier Grade Linux, Data Center Linux and Mobile Linux Initiative. These efforts aimed at outlining standards for Linux for specific markets, such as carrier, enterprise data center and cell phone makers.
The group's goal is to give the Linux companies the same consistency across multiple platforms and industries as Windows has. Microsoft's success across multiple markets — servers, to desktop to handhelds — stems from its tight controls over Windows standards and development. This is what The Linux Foundation hopes to emulate by providing technical and legal support for Linux standardization. With Oracle going after Red Hat's livelihood and the blurring line between Novell and Microsoft, The Linux Foundation's timing is pretty good.