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Debian dropping the Linux Standard Base


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#1 OFFLINE   securitybreach

securitybreach

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Posted 09 October 2015 - 02:32 PM

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The Linux Standard Base (LSB) is a specification that purports to define the services and application-level ABIs that a Linux distribution will provide for use by third-party programs. But some in the Debian project are questioning the value of maintaining LSB compliance—it has become, they say, a considerable amount of work for little measurable benefit.

The LSB was first released in 2001, and was modeled to a degree on the POSIX and Single UNIX Specification standards. Today, the LSB is maintained by a working group at the Linux Foundation. The most recent release was LSB 5.0 in June 2015. It defines five LSB modules (Core, Desktop, Languages, Imaging, and Trial Use).

The bulk of each module consists of a list of required libraries and the mandatory version for each, plus a description of the public functions and data definitions for each library. Other contents of the modules include naming and organizational specifications, such as the filesystem layout in the Filesystem Hierarchy Standard (FHS) or directory specifications like the Freedesktop XDG Base Directory specification.

In what appears to be sheer coincidence, during the same week that LSB 5.0 was released, a discussion arose within the Debian project as to whether or not maintaining LSB compliance was a worthwhile pursuit for Debian. After LSB compliance was mentioned in passing in another thread, Didier Raboud took the opportunity to propose scaling back Debian's compliance efforts to the bare minimum. As it stands today, he said, Debian's lsb-* meta-packages attempt to require the correct versions of the libraries mentioned in the standard, but no one is actually checking that all of the symbols and data definitions are met as a result.

Furthermore, the LSB continues to grow; the 4.1 release (the most recent when Debian "jessie" was released) consisted of "1493 components, 1672 libs, 38491 commands, 30176 classes and 716202 interfaces," he said. No one seems interested in checking those details in the Debian packages, he noted, adding that "I've held an LSB BoF last year at DebConf, and discussed src:lsb with various people back then, and what I took back was 'roughly no one cares'." Just as importantly, though, the lack of interest does not seem to be limited to Debian:

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The crux of the issue is, I think, whether this whole game is worth the work: I am yet to hear about software distribution happening through LSB packages. There are only _8_ applications by 6 companies on the LSB certified applications list, of which only one is against LSB >= 4.


https://lwn.net/Articles/658809/


Discussion with some further explanation: https://www.reddit.c..._standard_base/

https://www.reddit.c..._standard_base/
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