[lsb-discuss] Thoughts on LSB ISO standard

Carlos O'Donell carlos_odonell at mentor.com
Wed Jul 25 16:34:19 UTC 2012

On 7/25/2012 12:07 PM, Wichmann, Mats D wrote:
> I wanted to updated on a number of the topics that have been raised
> in the recent calls on this topic. For the last few years, since the
> departure from the project of Nick Stoughton, I have served as the
> editor of the LSB specification (and I was present at the Singapore
> meeting in which the LSB submission to ISO was finalized). As
> noted in the call I am finding it hard to continue that role and will
> probably have to transition it to another editor.

Thank you for your continued effort, I appreciate the work you've put
into this over the years, and I have used the LSB specification as a
reference point to educate and train *other* developers who had question
about system layout etc.
> LSB 3.1 "core" was agreed as an ISO standard, ISO/IEC 23360.1:2006
> essentially seven years ago (it was actually 3.1, not 3.0 as some have
> indicated).  At the same time LSB was in the process of adding a
> very large section of functionality which ended up known as "LSB desktop".
> Since that work was brand new and was taking place as the LSB ISO
> effort was in progress, it does make sense that part was not included
> in that submission, but several national bodies to ISO indicated that they
> felt it was important to continue to evolve the standard and bring these
> elements in as well.  Unfortunately, this evolution never happened.
> Logistically, the sponsor of the LSB project, the Linux Foundation, became
> an ISO PAS submitter to facilitate the process.  It is my understanding
> that this status on behalf of LF has been allowed to lapse.  LF as a
> not for profit foundation was well positioned to sponsor the work, but
> the sponsors of LF itself have apparently lost interest in supporting
> the work of LSB as an ISO standard.  This is an outsider's viewpoint, I
> cannot presume to speak for Linux Foundation, but I believe it to be accurate.
> There was some considerable work to make LSB core able to be
> produced as a standard that minimally fit ISO requirements, which
> was largely done by a contractor retained for that purpose (Nick).  That work
> has not been lost, however we were also led to understand that we
> were kind of given a pass in not completely conforming to the ISO
> conventions as a first-time PAS submission, but that a future revision
> would require additional work to more fully conform, so it may be that
> the existing facilities to generate a specification for consumption by
> ISO would not be sufficient - we would need advice on that issue. We
> have tried to maintain the policy of a "common standard" - to not intentionally
> diverge the standards wording between ISO and non-ISO. Issues that
> specifically related to the "ISO portion" of LSB continue to have flags
> in the LSB issue tracking system.
> There have been three significant revisions of LSB since the ISO submission.
> Those have been LSB 3.2, 4.0 and 4.1.  These revisions have maintained
> the document structure that was in place when LSB 3.1 went into ISO
> with very little change.  There has been one technical addition to core,
> we could discuss that separately - in theory updating the "ISO LSB"
> to LSB 4.1 level would not be a complicated process.
> However, there are two pending issues to keep in mind:
> - LSB has often been criticised for not covering enough of Linux "common"
> functionality; since LSB-core is a subset of full LSB, that question should
> be even larger for whether LSB-core is actually useful as an ISO standard.
> At the same time, there has also been the very real debate about whether
> an LSB specification which includes "desktop" elements is an appropriate
> requirement for server-oriented installations of LSB.

Isn't this is a question that the LSB itself has to already answer for certification?

I would imagine that the ISO document would follow an already established answer.

For example the ISO LSB could be lsb-core, with all other functionality grouped
into optional Annexes.

Alternatively you could publish multiple documents one for each part of the LSB
and make them different standard. This is the approach taken by some of the
functional safety standards like 

> - Some fairly substantial rearrangement of the LSB specfication is proposed
> (and in fact, agreed) for LSB 5.0, which is in development now and
> anticipated for the earlier part of 2013.  The comments about the unbroken
> line from LSB 3.1 -> LSB 4.1 will no longer apply for LSB 5.0.

I don't have enough background yet to know what's going into LSB 5.0, but
this sounds like good news.

I don't see why we need an unbroken line across the standards... other than
that would facilitate the maintenance of the macros that built the ISO

What are you using to build the document? Docbook (which I'm very very familiar

Carlos O'Donell
Mentor Graphics / CodeSourcery
carlos_odonell at mentor.com
carlos at codesourcery.com
+1 (613) 963 1026

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