[lsb-discuss] Determining OS variant

Wichmann, Mats D mats.d.wichmann at intel.com
Mon Mar 21 10:50:45 PDT 2011

lsb-discuss-bounces at lists.linux-foundation.org wrote:
> Greetings LSB,
> I was recently answering some questions for an associate of mine
> concerning lsb_release. This is, of course, an excellent way to
> determine the OS version that is in use. One thing this
> utility does not support (today) is the provision of a variant of the OS:
> Server
> Desktop
> Workstation
> etc.
> Do you think you might add such an option? And tell me how one would
> go about making a request to have this option added?

I'll add on to what Robert said.

(1) please go ahead and file a bug, even if we're not sounding
extremely encouraging that anything will happen in the near term,
it's the best way to track feature requests.

(2) the distro itself is free to answer in any way it wants
in the fields of lsb_release which are not constrained, so
it could answer, hypothetically "Laughlin Desktop" where Fedora
14 currently returns "Laughlin" for the "Codename" field.

(3) it's not clear the distribution actually knows the difference;
usually the difference between Server, Desktop and Workstation is
just in the packages installed, and who's to say you didn't pick a
"Desktop" install originally and then later apt-get/yum/zypper install'd 
your way up to what's exactly the same as a Workstation.

(4) If it's a question of the modularization Robert talks about
such as the difference between "LSB Core" and "LSB Desktop", it's
already possible for this to be represented, as a colon-separated
list of supported features in "LSB Version".  But as he noted, LSB 
itself doesn't really allow you to do "just Core" (which might be 
closer to a server setup) so it's kind of meaningless.

(5) lsb_release is an LSB invention, and the small number of those
(initscripts are another) are a lot less popular because it's something
distros have to respond to, and actively change, if we change anything;
most of the rest of the LSB is a description of common things distros
already do and those are less, ummm, controversial.

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