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Review: Building Applications with the Linux Standard Base

Novell Cool Solutions: Feature
By Kirk Coombs

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Posted: 5 Jul 2005

Cover Picture
  • Author: Standard Base Team, George Kraft IV, et al.
  • Publisher: Prentice Hall PTR/IBM Press
  • ISBN: 0-13-145695-4
  • Copyright 2005
  • Published November 2004
  • 246 Pages
  • CD-ROM included

This book is available through the Novell Press.

From the publisher: Written by the team that created the LSB, Building Applications with the Linux Standard Base shows developers how to create, test, and certify software for LSB 2.0 compliance. This book's hands-on approach lets readers quickly understand how to write Linux applications that are portable across multiple distributions, including those from SUSE, Mandrake, and Solaris.

If you have ever wanted to learn more about the Linux Standard Base (LSB), then this book is your one-stop shop. Whether you are already familiar with the LSB, or have no experience with it, this book will provide valuable information. The book focuses on the LSB 2.0 specification, but the principles covered apply to older and future specifications. The accompanying CD-ROM contains the entire LSB 2.0 specification for all supported architectures.

The authors are both knowledgeable and thorough in their treatment of the LSB. Each chapter could be read independent of the others. This makes it great as a reference, especially if you are already familiar with certain aspects of the LSB and would like to learn more about other particular areas. This style, however, makes the book very repetitive when read cover-to-cover.

Following is a brief synopsis of the chapters in this book.

  • Part 1: Introduction - Covers the Unix/Linux background which make the LSB necessary.

    • Chapter 1: Understanding the LSB - Gives a brief overview of the LSB including why it is necessary and how it is organized.

    • Chapter 2: Ensuring Binary Compatibility - Discusses how source code standards relate to binary compatibility. This includes the history of Unix standards and how they have evolved into their current form. It shows how Linux relates to these standards, and how the LSB came about.

  • Part 2: Developing LSB Applications - Discusses the do's and don'ts for coding a LSB certified application and how to package it. It also describes how to port a Solaris application to conform with the LSB and run on Linux.

    • Chapter 3: Using LSB Coding Practices - Gives the basics of coding a LSB application through a series of do's and don'ts. Includes coding examples.

    • Chapter 4: Packaging You LSB Application - Covers how a LSB application should be packaged, and how is should fit in the Filesystem Hierarchy Standard (FHS).

    • Chapter 5: Migrating Solaris Applications to Linux - Provides a step-by-step overview of the proccess involved in porting a Solaris application to a LSB certified Linux application.

  • Part 3: Certifying for the LSB - Describes the steps required to certify Linux runtime environments (distributions) and applications with the LSB.

    • Chapter 6: LSB Certification for Linux Distributions - Describes the testing and interactions with the LSB Free Standards Group necessary to certify a runtime environment.

    • Chapter 7: LSB Certification for Software Products - Describes the testing and interactions with the LSB Free Standards Group necessary to certify an application.

  • Part 4: Contributing to the LSB Project - Discusses how the LSB community interacts, and the steps required to propose and add ideas to future LSB specifications

    • Chapter 8: Adding New Interfaces to the LSB Written Specification - Presents the steps a new interface must go through to be accepted into a new LSB specification.

    • Chapter 9: Adding New Architectures to the LSB Portfolio - The LSB includes specifications for many hardware architectures. This chapter discusses how new architectures are added.

  • Part 5: Using LSB Resources - Discusses the tools and resources available to help create LSB certified applications and distributions.

    • Chapter 10: Using the LSB Written Specification - Highlights the various componens of the LSB written specification, and how each should be used.

    • Chapter 11: Using the LSB Test Suites - The LSB provides several tools to help test conformity of an application or Distribution. This chapter describes what they are, how to get them, and how to use them.

    • Chapter 12: Using the Sample Implementation - The LSB provides a sample LSB certified runtime environment in which LSB applications can be tested. This chapter describes how to use it.

    • Chapter 13: Using the LSB Development Environment - In addition to testing tools, the LSB provides tools to build LSB applications. These tools are covered here, including an example of compiling rsync as a LSB application.

    • Chapter 14: Using the Application Battery - Several open-source applications have been built to conform to the LSB specification. This chapter demonstrates their use to prove a distribution is capable of supporting LSB applications.

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