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: Re: *Sigh*
by Ringheims Auto on Thu 19th Aug 2004 10:04 UTC

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%?

Not many, typically only propertiary software. Reason is, downloading software in a binary form wich would fit all distros is not the idea on Linux, it's the other way around. The developer release the source, and packagers release distro-tuned packages. I'm seeing this work great right now on my Mandrake system, utilizing urpmi and a couple of repositories.
Of course it doesn't work that easily with propertiary software on Linux. The registered version of Mandrake's got most of them in rpm (I believe?), but I haven't tried this. It also depends on a good relationship between the companies of the software and the distro, wich will of course not always be the case.

Anyhow, developers of binary-only apps for Linux should be more clever to provide packages for different distros and CPUs. Typically, you'll find Red Hat and Debian, for x86 only. This does not take advantage of Linux at all, and shrinks it to an every-day desktop OS, with a though-of defacto standard of Red Hat. Times change, all the time, so it would be much better to have packages for like 10 different distros, on different CPUs. But of course, with compability, you'll only get as far as the number of distros you provide packages for, when you do binary-only software for Linux.

Dunno, have just had great luck with urpmi and the OSS software found there. It works much better than downloading an installer for win98/NT/Xp, wich after installing may not show up in "Add/Remove Programs", and may leave me without an uninstaller. Urmpi has much better control of the system, and knows how to get rid of properly them too. For most users having the files gone through Mandrake, or other trusted packagers is good, cause they have no reason leaving files for advertising on your computer after uninstalling the app.
The example with the Windows-installer was from the demo-version of Fruityloops, btw. Does not show up inn add/remove, and no uninstaller. Puke.

PS: Have had good luck with compiling also, at least after getting rid of dependencies and figuring out wich devel-packages to install ;]