[lsb-discuss] Don't blame LSB and standards, please: was: Re: Fedora Plasma Product, feedback please

Russ Allbery eagle at eyrie.org
Mon Mar 31 22:27:22 UTC 2014

"Jóhann B. Guðmundsson" <johannbg at gmail.com> writes:

> The problem I'm trying to solve is unification across distributions and
> applications which I though was clear and I thought this standard was
> supposed to be solving

I don't think it is.

At least, as a distribution developer, my impression has always been that
LSB is primarily aimed at providing a standardized platform that
third-party commercial application developers can target and be relatively
assured of being able to run on any Linux distribution.  For the most
part, the actual workings of the native packages of the distribution were
out of scope, provided that the interfaces were available to third-party
software of that sort after installing the lsb package.

There are a few exceptions, of which the FHS is probably the largest, but
they're exceptions.  And even the FHS is not (at least in my opinion)
suitable for adopting universally in its current form.  Debian carries
nine explicit exceptions to the FHS, and we're likely to add several more
in the near future.

Every Linux distribution has its own internal process for standardizing
how, say, packages will be managed, where files should be installed, how
integration with the rest of the system should be done, and so forth.  I
think it is extremely unlikely that you would be able to achieve
widespread standardization in those areas precisely because variation in
those areas is *why* people start new distributions.  In other words,
doing those things differently across distributions is considered a
feature by the people working on those distributions, not a bug.

If you wanted to work on standardization and documentation of how, say,
Debian (and to a lesser extent Ubuntu) packages are laid out, maintained,
and integrated with the rest of the system, the appropriate forum is
Debian Policy, not LSB.  Likewise, if you wanted to work on similar things
for Fedora, I'm sure Fedora has their own separate working group on the

LSB, at least in my view, is much more about identifying and documenting a
shared, common set of features (which may or may not be enabled by
default; you may have to install an lsb package to get them) that third
parties who do not want to participate directly in the process for that
distribution can rely upon, and that distributions can provide if they
want to enable third-party applications.

Russ Allbery (eagle at eyrie.org)              <http://www.eyrie.org/~eagle/>

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