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.
Permalink for comment
To read all comments associated with this story, please click here.
something to keep in mind
by OoSync on Thu 19th Aug 2004 16:37 UTC

While the idea of binary-compatiblity is usually thrown around in support of proprietary software, the FOSS would benefit as well. It would mean that software could be released as LSB-compliant, not RedHat/SuSe/Debian-compliant. It would mean relatively large projects or those requiring significant numbers of specific or obscure libraries could be built to work on LSB-compliant distros.

Imagine using the same binaries on your Fedora box at home, your RHEL box at work, and your Debian box at your girlfriend's house. Such compatability would mean developers and contributors spend less time compiling and testing across disparate distros and more time actually developing.

Of course, distros will still ship built against libraries incompatible with the LSB, which is why making the LSB a standardized set of libraries in a standardized location within a disto make sense. You place things in the right place and everyone benefits: a binary standard for those who need it, and the distro can charge full-steam ahead without worrying about binary problems.