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: Distro-neutral Linux binary
by Anonymous on Thu 19th Aug 2004 15:06 UTC

Let's not forget SUN Java and Flash plugin. Hm, shall we start counting?

Funny, I do believe I'm not the only one who had to dig around for various versions of Java (Blackdown, IBM, Sun) until I found one that was linked against the right glibc.

glibc is not fully backwards compatible, and linking against any given version of glibc WILL make that binary potentially unusable under other versions.

I'm not saying open-source software should necessarily do what Windows did and ensure 100% backwards compatibility. But let's not delude ourselves either, thinking there are binaries which will run everywhere, 'cause there aren't.