Linked by Stefan Michalowski, M. Sc. on Thu 19th Aug 2004 08:27 UTC
Editorial Lately posted on Slashdot, an article written by Joel Spolsky mentioned the trouble through which Microsoft went to make each version of Windows backwards compatible. In one case, for the game Simcity, they even changed the way memory handling was done when running that application. You can find additional stories of software tricks that recent versions of Windows have to perform in order to run these bug-dependant applications on the web. After reading the story, I discussed with a couple of friends how weird this was and how Free Software completely avoids this problem.
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Re: *Sigh*
by Artem on Thu 19th Aug 2004 09:21 UTC

"Last I checked you could simply install mozilla, opera, realplayer ... on any linux distro so your ranting is rather pointless. "

Yeah, binary compatibility is certainly *possible* on Linux. But the fact that you could name only 3 (three) projects (let's not forget OOo!) shows that this is an exception, not a rule. Take a typical Linux distro and look at all the software it contains. How many of the these programs can you download from the developers site in binary form so that they would work on any distro? Perhaps something like 0,005%?

Now, Linux is not to blame here. It's just that the most OSS developers don't care about binary compatibility and tend to make their creation depend on latest and greatest lib versions. That's OK, that's their right, that's the way it's done in free software world, but the fact remains: binary compatibility is rare here. Even autopackage (when it's ready) by itself won't be able to change that developer attitude. And probably nothing will.