The Linux Standard Base (LSB) Test Framework, jointly developed with the Institute for Systems Programming of the Russian Academy of Sciences, interlinks the various moving parts that make up the Linux platform to an unprecedented degree. This provides 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 Linux Foundation 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.