Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 5th Nov 2009 23:05 UTC
Linux As we all know, Mac OS X has support for what is called 'fat binaries'. These are binaries that can carry code for for instance multiple architectures - in the case of the Mac, PowerPC and x86. Ryan Gordon was working on an implementation of fat binaries for Linux - but due to the conduct of the Linux maintainers, Gordon has halted the effort.
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3rdalbum
Member since:
2008-05-26

If there's an error, like, "No, stupid, you're on ARM and you downloaded something for x86", guess who gets a call at 10:30 at night? It would simplify things for the average user.


I agree, it's a problem with Debian packaging that isn't properly solved by setting the package architecture to "all".

The cross-architecture problem can be solved without Fat binaries. Have the source code in the package, bringing in all the dependencies required to build it, and then build it on-the-fly. Or, have the package install a number of different architecture's binaries into a folder like previously proposed (with an invisible script that selects the correct one). Or, have the package download the correct binary from the web. Or, write the program in an interpreted language.

At first I thought "FatElf sounds cool, that's shocking that Ryan was given a whole lot of 'meh' and discouraged from developing it", and then I thought about it and realised that Fat binaries are not actually necessary. As long as you can cross-compile (and you can), you can have basically the same thing as Fat binaries - and the user or Computer Janitor can remove the ones that are unnecessary to save disk space.

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