The Linux Standard Base, acronym form LSB, is a joint project by several Linux distributions under the organizational structure of The Free Standards Group to lay out and standardize the internal structure of Linux-based operating systems. The LSB is based on the POSIX specification, the Single UNIX Specification, and several other open standards, but extends them in certain areas.

According to themselves:

The goal of the LSB is to develop and promote a set of standards that will increase compatibility among Linux distributions and enable software applications to run on any compliant system. In addition, the LSB will help coordinate efforts to recruit software vendors to port and write products for Linux.

The LSB compliance may be certified for a product by a certification procedure. The certification is carried out by The Open Group in cooperation with the Free Standards Group.

The LSB specifies for example: standard libraries, a number of commands and utilities that extend the POSIX standard, the layout of the file system hierarchy, run levels, and several extensions to the X Window System.


The LSB has been criticized for not taking input from projects outside the member companies sphere, most notably the Debian project. For example, the LSB specifies that software packages should be delivered in Red Hat's RPM format, which was invented much later than Debian's "deb" package format, and the Debian developers are not likely to change their format, which they naturally perceive as superior. Some say this is not a major issue since the RPM format specified by the LSB is well-supported by the Debian "alien" program that can be used to import packages stored in other binary formats.

In other areas, however, the LSB work has been met with much gratitude.

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