4. Standard Linux Base

The vast number of different Linux distributions, while providing lots of healthy choice for Linux users, has created a problem for software developers—particularly developers of non-free software.

Each distribution packages and supplies certain base libraries, configuration tools, system applications, and configuration files. Unfortunately, differences in their versions, names, and locations make it very difficult to know what will exist on any distribution. This makes it hard to develop binary applications that will work reliably on all Linux distribution bases.

To help overcome this problem, a new project sprang up called the “Linux Standard Base.” It aims to describe a standard base distribution that complying distributions will use. If a developer designs an application to work against the standard base platform, the application will work, and be portable to, any complying Linux distribution.

You can find information on the status of the Linux Standard Base project at its home web site at http://www.linuxbase.org/.

If you're concerned about interoperability, particularly of software from commercial vendors, you should ensure that your Linux distribution is making an effort to participate in the standardization project.