Chapter 3. Compatibility issues
10
For further information on booting, partitioning your drive, enabling PCMCIA (PC Card)
devices and similar issues please follow the instructions given in the Installation Manual,
which is available from our WWW site at
http://www.debian.org/releases/stable/
installmanual
.
3.2 How compatible is Debian with other distributions of Linux?
Debian developers communicate with other Linux distribution creators in an effort to maintain
binary compatibility across Linux distributions. Most commercial Linux products run as well
under Debian as they do on the system upon which they were built.
Debian GNU/Linux adheres to the Linux Filesystem Hierarchy Standard (
http://www.
pathname.com/fhs/
). However, there is room for interpretation in some of the rules within
this standard, so there may be slight differences between a Debian system and other Linux
systems.
3.3 How source code compatible is Debian with other Unix systems?
For most applications Linux source code is compatible with other Unix systems. It supports
almost everything that is available in System V Unix systems and the free and commercial BSD 
derived systems. However in the Unix business such claim has nearly no value because there
is no way to prove it. In the software development area complete compatibility is required
instead of compatibility in  about most  cases. So years ago the need for standards arose, and
nowadays POSIX.1 (IEEE Standard 1003.1 1990) is one of the major standards for source code
compatibility in Unix like operating systems.
Linux is intended to adhere to POSIX.1, but the POSIX standards cost real money and the
POSIX.1 (and FIPS 151 2) certification is quite expensive; this made it more difficult for the
Linux developers to work on complete POSIX conformance. The certification costs make it
unlikely that Debian will get an official conformance certification even if it completely passed
the validation suite. (The validation suite is now freely available, so it is expected that more
people will work on POSIX.1 issues.)
Unifix GmbH (Braunschweig, Germany) developed a Linux system that has been certified to
conform to FIPS 151 2 (a superset of POSIX.1). This technology was available in Unifix' own
distribution called Unifix Linux 2.0 and in Lasermoon's Linux FT.
3.4 Can I use Debian packages ( .deb  files) on my Red
Hat/Slackware/. . . Linux system? Can I use Red Hat packages
( .rpm  files) on my Debian GNU/Linux system?
Different Linux distributions use different package formats and different package management
programs.
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