Originally Published: Saturday, 4 September 1999 Author: Marc Rassbach
Published to: featured_articles/Featured Articles Page: 1/1 - [Printable]

It's Time To Offer New Linux Branding

This article originated in osOpinion and is provided under the OpenContent License.

It's time to offer new Linux branding.

In the dawn of ancient time, there was once software which the source code was downloadable, and the majority of the licenses were not requiring payments. Some was GPLed, others BSD, and some required post cards sent. When you tried to explain this, there was no universal name, so you tried to describe the situation there was confusion....

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This article originated in osOpinion and is provided under the OpenContent License.

It's time to offer new Linux branding.

In the dawn of ancient time, there was once software which the source code was downloadable, and the majority of the licenses were not requiring payments. Some was GPLed, others BSD, and some required post cards sent. When you tried to explain this, there was no universal name, so you tried to describe the situation there was confusion.

And into the confusion came the words Open Source. A big tent for EVERYONE to come to. A branding.

Now it is time for the start of the erection of the next big tent. A time for the newest branding.

Linux Compatibility

Back in October 10, 1997 the Intel-based Unix community tried to get together and create the long sought after goal: A common binary for x86 opcode UNIX From http://www.telly.org/86open/orig.html "The goal of this effort is to encourage software developers to port to the UNIX-Intel platform by reducing the effort needed to support the diverse mix of operating systems of this kind currently available."

Events overtook this project....at least from a technical perspective. The final update of July 25th, 1999 at http://www.telly.org/86open/index.html says "With these announcements, the need for a distinct common binary is gone."

Like OpenSource was a matter of education, the branding of "Linux-compatible" now needs education.

Right now, the vendors of shrink-wrapped binaries are doing as the market is asking, they are porting to Linux. Except they are porting to "RedHat Linux" or "Slackware Linux", but not to "Any box that runs Linux binaries". You, the market, are not asking for the right thing. You, the market, are not asking for Linux-compatible binaries.

I have contacted 26 different vendors who have announced some form of "linux support". 8 have responded back, with IBM being the most inquisitive. *NONE* of them are aware, or plan on supporting the *WHOLE* universe of 86opcode Linux-binary-running Oses. They only want to support "RedHat" or "Suse" or "Slackware".

86Open only went the 1st mile. The downhill mile, the technical mile. The uphill mile is to ask vendors to support the concept of Linux-Compatibility. Start educating the vendors and the users. Let us raise the tent for all to enter!

How can the "Linux-Compatible" brand be built?

Simple.

Tell the vendors how EVERY (ok perhaps not every) Intel-based Unix now has a Linux binary run mode, and how if they write to a "Linux-Compatible" binary, they not only get the marketshare of "RedHat", but EVERY 86opcode Linux, AND BSD AND Solaris AND BSDI AND SCO. The WHOLE market. Not just a slice.

Tell the vendors how for the ENTIRE(1) 86opcode universe, they have then 2 releases. Windows and "Linux-Compatible." And that gets the vendor 100% coverage.

And all it takes is deciding to refer to "RedHat", "Slackware", "SCO", "Solaris" and even "BSD" as "Linux Compatible". The "Linux-Compatible" branding is even a way to get the warring factions of the 32 flavors of Linux-distributions (last count was 107) and the distro of the week to *ALL* agree, for the greater good. And, unlike the LSB (Linux standard binaries), the "Linux- Compatible" standard exists because SCO/Solaris/BSD are already there.

So remember: When you ask for a binary, just ask for "Linux Compatible". For it is time to raise the next big tent for us ALL to come to. It is time for the establishment of the "Linux- Compatible" brand!

(Ok, I am ignoring THEOS, PICK, Throughbred and whomever else I forgot.)

Marc Rassbach can be reached for response to this column by e-mailing him at marc@tandem.milestonerdl.com.





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