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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Backwards Compatibility in Reverse
by Anonymous on Thu 19th Aug 2004 13:27 UTC

I recently wrote a small XSLT application that I considered releasing to the wider world.

However I discovered several problems. Mostly I couldn't get it working properly on even a slightly older linux system (redhat 9).

Most OSS software is changing so quickly that I can't code anything on a new system and expect it to work on a slightly older system. While I can be somewhat assured that it will work on newer systems (assuming stuff doesn't get deprecated), I can make no such assertions about older setups.

To me this is the big problem with commercial software under linux. With desktops stabilising and likely to be updated less often (stability is the watchword of business). How far back do you need to support. Should I aim for gnome 2.0+ or kde 3.0+ or can I just go for kde 3.2+ and gnome 2.4+.

And this is only source level compatibility.