Linux Standard Base

From Academic Kids

The Linux Standard Base, or LSB, is a joint project by several Linux distributions under the organizational structure of The Free Standards Group to standardize the internal structure of Linux-based operating systems. The LSB is based on the POSIX specification, the Single UNIX Specification, and several other open standards, but extends them in certain areas.

According to themselves:

The goal of the LSB is to develop and promote a set of standards that will increase compatibility among Linux distributions and enable software applications to run on any compliant system. In addition, the LSB will help coordinate efforts to recruit software vendors to port and write products for Linux.

The LSB compliance may be certified for a product by a certification procedure. The certification is carried out by The Open Group in cooperation with the Free Standards Group.

The LSB specifies for example: standard libraries, a number of commands and utilities that extend the POSIX standard, the layout of the file system hierarchy, run levels, and several extensions to the X Window System.


The LSB has been criticized for not taking input from projects outside the sphere of its member companies, most notably from the Debian project. For example, the LSB specifies that software packages should be delivered in Red Hat's RPM format, which was invented much later than Debian's deb package format, and the Debian developers are not likely to change their format, which they (and others) perceive as superior. However, the vast majority of the criticism on this topic stems from a misunderstanding of the implication of this mandated use of the RPM format: the standard does not dictate what package format the operating system must use for its own packages, but merely what package format must be supported to allow packages from third-party distributors to be installed on a conforming system. Since Debian already includes optional support for the LSB (at version 1.1 in "woody" and 2.0 in "sarge"), this issue evaporates under closer scrutiny (e.g. the end-user just needs to use Debian's "alien" program to transform and install the foreign RPM packages in the native package format).

In other areas the LSB work is less controversial, and has been met with much gratitude.

External links

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