FSG Addresses Linux Testing Challenges With New Integrated Framework
Strives To Make Linux Platform More Attractive To Software Developers
Nov. 7, 2006 12:00 AM
The Free Standards Group (FSG) announced a new testing framework that will link compatibility tests to code development, enhancing the quality and interoperability to the Linux platform. The new Linux Standard Base (LSB) Test Framework, jointly developed with the Institute for Systems Programming of the Russian Academy of Sciences, will interlink the various moving parts that make up the Linux platform to an unprecedented degree.
This will provide upstream package developers and downstream distribution vendors with a powerful set of tools for coordinating their work and improving the quality of the platform, as well as giving Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) a more effective way to provide feedback to both parties. The new testing framework will be free for anyone to use under the Gnu Public License (GPL), and the associated database will expose APIs so that other web services can integrate with the framework.
One of the most challenging aspects of maintaining a standard for the Linux community is tracking all the moving parts. A typical Linux distribution is made up of hundreds of independent "upstream" open source components, each of which evolves at its own pace. The LSB tracks the independently evolving Linux distributions to guarantee cross-distribution portability, which adds a third dimension to an already complex task. This coordination is crucial to ensure the Linux platform's long-term success.
Even though Linux is developed in a highly decentralized manner, in order to be attractive to the ISV community, Linux must provide the same long-term compatibility guarantees and comprehensive compatibility testing as proprietary platforms such as Microsoft Windows. The LSB Test Framework enables cross-distribution interoperability for applications targeted at LSB 3.0 and higher and will provide backward compatibility so that these applications will continue to run correctly on distributions compatible with future versions of the LSB.
The multi-million-dollar testing framework being developed by the FSG and the Institute for Systems Programming of the Russian Academy of Sciences represents hundreds of man years of development. The Russian Academy of Sciences has a wealth of knowledge and experience in developing testing frameworks, including work with HP, Intel, Microsoft, Nortel and others, and the development of the Open Linux Verification Project at the Linux Verification Center.
Through their generous support of the Free Standards Group, the platinum members of the FSG -- HP, IBM, Intel, Novell, and Oracle -- are jointly funding the initial work on this project to benefit the greater Linux ecosystem.
"A platform is only as good as the applications that run on top of it," said Jim Zemlin, executive director of the Free Standards Group. "Linux and its web of independently moving parts present application developers with specific challenges. Now for the first time, upstream project maintainers and Linux distributions can make use of a world-class testing framework that integrates their work, tests it immediately for compatibility, and in the process, reach the largest number of software developers. This degree of coordination and cooperation will make it hard for monolithic, proprietary operating systems to compete."