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8/8/2008
10:49 PM
Serdar Yegulalp
Serdar Yegulalp
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AppChecker: No More Linux Cross-Platform Blues?

Writing a Linux app that works on multiple breeds of Linux typically hasn't been a snap. It's about time something was done, and now there's a tool to address that issue: the Linux Foundation's AppChecker.



Writing a Linux app that works on multiple breeds of Linux typically hasn't been a snap. It's about time something was done, and now there's a tool to address that issue: the Linux Foundation's AppChecker.

AppChecker is a locally-run program that inspects the binary for an application and determines how compliant said app is with distributions that use the Linux Standards Base (about 30-odd distros and counting). The feedback you get from AppChecker is like applications that scan open source software to detect what licenses are in use: it works best when there's a well-informed user at the helm. Right now it only works with C/C++ applications that have symbols, but that covers the majority of binaries written for Linux at this point.

This goes back into something I've mentioned intermittently before. As Linux becomes that much more popular and consolidated (where consolidation is a benefit, that is), it becomes its own punishment to not comply with the standards that are coming to the fore. Jim Zemlin himself put it this way: if you have a Linux app, who doesn't want to have it run most anywhere without modification?

I'm sure there will always be room for Linux as something that's inherently plastic -- raw material to be shaped as needed for specific tasks, from embedded systems to clusters to something-not-yet-invented. But there's now a sense that those things need to be derived from something, and interoperate with something, that has as common a base as possible. Above and beyond Linux-in-the-raw, that is.

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