Linux Software Map

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Linux Software Map (LSM) is a standard text file format for describing Linux software. It also refers to the database constructed from these files. LSM is one of the standard methods for announcing a new software release for Linux.

File format

If a Linux program is to be distributed widely, an LSM file may be created to describe the program, normally in a file called software_package_name.lsm. This file begins with Begin4 and ends with End. It has one field on each line. The field name is separated from the value by a colon (:). Mandatory fields are Title, Version, Entered-date, Description, Author and Primary-site.


Here is a what a blank LSM template looks like, at time of writing:

Begin4 Title: Version: Entered-date: Description: Keywords: Author: Maintained-by: Primary-site: Alternate-site: Original-site: Platforms: Copying-policy: End


The collective database of LSM entries can be searched in order to locate software of a particular type. This database has passed through various owners. It was created by Jeff Kopmanis, Lars Wirzenius maintained it for a while, and now the current maintainer is Aaron Schrab (with help from volunteers).

The database can be downloaded in its entirety, or one can perform limited queries using a web interface.

As of August 2022, the LSM index is still automatically updated by a e-mail robot. However, the maintainer of man-db eventually decided to stop maintaining its LSM data due to the perceived obsolescence of LSM.


  1. ^ Toscano, Pino. "Drop LSM file (!4) · Merge requests · man-db / man-db · GitLab". GitLab.

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