New gig

It’s official: I’ve joined the Free Standards Group as Chief Technology Officer and chair of the FSG’s Linux Standard Base (LSB) workgroup. (The FSG made some great additions to its board too.) This promises to be a breakout year for the LSB and for free standards in general, and I’m excited to be a part of it. Some of the things on tap for the coming year are:

  • The LSB 3.1 release (which adds Desktop functionality to the ISO standard LSB Core, among other things)
  • A crisp, well defined roadmap for LSB 4.0 and beyond, with increased emphasis on synchronicity with the major distros and stability, predictability and consistency of the LSB ABIs/APIs over time
  • A renewed emphasis on increasing direct involvement of distros, ISVs, and upstreams in the LSB development process
  • A developer outreach program that will make it easier than ever for software developers to target the Linux platform in a portable way (hint: ever wish there was a Linux Developer Network?)
  • A franchised certification program that will allow third parties to integrate LSB certification into their own value-added certification offerings (our recent announcement that we’ve teamed up on a certification center in China is a hint of things to come here)

As with most major life changes, this one’s bittersweet in some ways, as in the process of embracing this exciting project, I’ve had to step away from another, namely Progeny, the company I co-founded way back in 1999 (!). It’s always hard to move on from something that’s been a big part of your life for such a long time, and it’s particularly hard when you don’t feel like you’re “done” yet. On the positive side, I leave Progeny in excellent hands, and I’m able to remain involved in that wonderful position called “advisor”.

Speaking of Progeny, I’m exceedingly proud of all we accomplished over the years. Not only did we survive the .com bust, but we successfully reinvented ourselves in the midst of it all. Furthermore, we not only survived, we pioneered: we were among the first (if not the first) to build a business model around the customization and integration of open source code, a model that’s been adopted by some of the hottest open source startups of the past few years. I’m also immensely proud of the DCC Alliance—indeed, my new role with the FSG is, in a lot of ways, a natural progression from that latest waypoint in a string of projects that date back to 1993.

That’s it for now. Watch this space for additional news about the LSB as it continues to unfold. Better yet, get involved and help make it all happen!

8 comments on “New gig

  1. Bart Schuller

    I can only hope that more software will actually be released for LSB instead of a choice of both Red Hat *and* Suse.

    In the case of Oracle, I can even sort of understand, but at least they don’t actively hinder you if you want to try installing it on debian.

    …Like Verity did. A beta version installed fine, needed a libstdc++ from some other distro, no problem. Then when you try to upgrade, you get told by InstallShield that “2.6.8-2-386” is not supported. Excuse me, kernel version numbers?

    Funnier still is when you try to get the full non-beta release installed and you type in keys and codes till you’re blue in the face, each time getting a response that the code is invalid…
    When the real error should have said “we don’t like your OS” as the Suse vmware image worked just fine.

    Of course, having installed it in Suse, it runs just fine in debian.

  2. Michael Perry

    Congrats, Ian. I especially like the news about the certification approaches in China. It really shows the international grasp of the standards approaches within the FSG.

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  4. Claire Giordano

    Congratulations, Ian. I can certainly identify with the bittersweet part. It’s been amazing how quickly the novel becomes normal, at least for me. I hope the transition goes well for you – I’m sure it will. Enjoy!

  5. Zeb Carnell

    Great news Mr Murdock.
    I’ve always been very respectful of your opinions and ideas. I 100% support the DCC Alliance and that leads to supporting LSB.
    Thankyou for all the work you’ve done for FOSS over the years and thanks for the rest to come.

    Zeb Carnell

    My Blog has a recent post directed mainly at the Debian community about the DCCA.

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  7. James Gray


    It sounds like 2006 will be a watershed year for FSG and LSB – this is a Good Thing ™. I work for a company that actively promotes and sells commercial linux disto’s. One of the biggest complaints from customers is the lack of consistency and the level of fragmentation between distributions. Add to that different packaging formats and it makes it very difficult for ISV’s to release software in a reliable, consistent way to their customer base. Here’s hoping 2006 will be a great consolidation and coming together of good ideas to propel Linux into the next era :)

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