End Users

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Why Linux End Users Should Care about Open Standards

Open standards are a vital piece of any corporate or government organization's Linux strategy. Why? The open source development process and its open code format do not guarantee your ability to freely choose a technology solution. It’s only half of the equation: If the cost of moving from one open source solution to another is prohibitive, you’re just as locked in to open source as a closed source solution. Only open source combined with open standards delivers freedom of choice.

For Linux users there is a widely supported open standard -- the Linux Standard Base -- that offers corporate/government IT a no-cost solution delivering freedom of choice. So why exactly should you care about Linux standards?

  • Improved Interoperability. By following the LSB, distribution vendors and ISVs improve portability between applications and compliant operating systems. It also enables end users to choose the distribution that best meets their needs.
  • Reduced Risk. The more your organization deploys and supports open standards, the less dependent you are on any one vendor. The Linux Standard Base is a simple and effective risk management strategy.
  • Improved Functionality and Choice. Open standards make it easier for ISVs to port their software to the Linux operating system. This increases the number and type of applications available for the platform.

So How Do You Take Advantage of Linux Open Standards?

For IT users of Linux, it’s very easy to support open standards for Linux. You should simply mandate open standards-compliance into your procurement contracts with your software vendors and ISVs. Many organizations have done this in the past with Unix’s POSIX standard, but the LSB covers a much wider range of functionality. By stipulating this compliance in your contracts, you’ll ensure portability.

Here is sample legal language you can use as a guide for your procurement contracts:

<Customer> requires any Linux-based system delivered under this <agreement> to bear the LSB certification mark indicating that the Linux distribution complies with the Linux Standard Base specifications of The Linux Foundation.

How else can end users participate in the Linux Foundation?

Please consider joining the LF as an End User member and participating in our collaboration forums.