Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 9th Nov 2011 21:26 UTC, submitted by edwin
General Unix Way back in 2002, MIT decided it needed to start teaching a course in operating system engineering. As part of this course, students would write an exokernel on x86, using Sixth Edition Unix (V6) and John Lions' commentary as course material. This, however, posed problems.
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RE[2]: binary for windows....
by jabjoe on Fri 11th Nov 2011 11:32 UTC in reply to "RE: binary for windows.... "
jabjoe
Member since:
2009-05-06

Shared objects aren't really about saving space any more (much of Window's bloat is having a massive sea of common DLLs that might be needed, and multiple versions of them, for both x86 and AMD64). It's about abstraction and updates. You get the benefits of shared code from static libs, but to take advantage of new abstractions or updates, with static libs, requires rebuilding. That's a lot of rebuilding. Check out the dependency graph of some apps you use some time. They are often massive. To keep those apps up to date would require constant rebuilding. Then the update system would have to work in deltas on binaries else you would be pulling down much much more with updates. With shared objects you get updated share code with nothing but the shared object being rebuilt. Easy deltas for free. Having to rebuild everything will have a massive impact on security. On a closed platform this even worse because the vendor of each package has to decide it's worth them updating. Often it's even worse because each vendor has their own update system that may or may not be working. Worse, on closed platforms, you already end up with things built against many versions of a lib, often needing separate shared object files (which defeats part of the purpose of shared objects. Manifest is crazy with it's "exact" version scheme.) Static libs would make this worse. With shared objects not only do you get simple updates but abstraction. Completely different implementations can be swapped in. Plugins are often a system of exactly that. Same interface to the plugin shared objects, but each adds new behaviour. Also put something in a shared object with a standard C interface, and many languages can use it.

With an open platform and a single update system, shared objects rock. You can build everything to a single version of each shared object. You update that single version and everything is updated (fixed/secured). You can sensibly manage the dependencies. You removed shared objects if nothing is using them. You only add shared objects something requires. This can and is, all automated. This does save space, and I would be surprised if that if you build everything statically the install wasn't quite a lot bigger, unless you have some magic compressing filesystem witch sees the duplicate code/data and stores only one version anyway. But space saving isn't the main reason to do it.

Any platform that moves more to static libs is going in the wrong direction. For Windows, it may well save space to move to having static libs for everything because of the mess of having so many DLLs not actually required. But it will make the reliability and security of the platform worse (though not if it already has an exact version system, then it's already as bad as it can be).

In short, you can take shared objects only from my cold dead hands!

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