Linked by Thomas Leonard on Tue 16th Jan 2007 00:32 UTC
General Development In the Free and Open Source communities we are proud of our 'bazaar' model, where anyone can join in by setting up a project and publishing their programs. Users are free to pick and choose whatever software they want... provided they're happy to compile from source, resolve dependencies manually and give up automatic security and feature updates. In this essay, I introduce 'decentralised' installation systems, such as Autopackage and Zero Install, which aim to provide these missing features.
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RE[3]: B.A.D idea
by draethus on Tue 16th Jan 2007 14:49 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: B.A.D idea"
draethus
Member since:
2006-08-02

This week seems to be about porting problems from the windows world to the FOSS world. First backward compatibility and now binary compatibility. They are only problems to people who want the latest and greatest.

Maybe that's because on Windows backward compatibility and binary compatibility are solved problems, on Linux they're not.

Write and compile a program on Windows Vista using only functions available in Windows 95, then take it to a Windows 95 box, and it will work.

Now compile on glibc 2.4 using only ANSI C functions, take your program to a box with glibc 2.3 and it will fail to start, even though all the functions you use are available. And that's not even going to horrors like thread-local locales, where it won't even work on another libc of the same version compiled without that option, and Fedora Core 6's GCC's DT_GNU_HASH, where unless you compile with special flags, AFAIK your program doesn't even run on any other distro.

It's not that people want the latest and greatest - currently the only reliable way to get unpackaged software installed is to compile it, and ISVs want to write software once and have it work on every distro for all time.

If you know something I don't, please elaborate.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[4]: B.A.D idea
by Terracotta on Tue 16th Jan 2007 15:23 in reply to "RE[3]: B.A.D idea"
Terracotta Member since:
2005-08-15

Well I know for one that backward compatibility is not solved in the windows world. For example Navision (a MS product), can not run on windows Vista.

Backward compatibility has also it's drawbacks in speed: as in being forced to keep all drivers ever created to be supported, i.e. USB-drivers in windows vs the fasted drivers for USB in linux.

Compatability on binary level is disease that has more drawbacks than it is good for and is something that the open source world circumvents quite well: on source level.It should not be introduced in the open source world.

Reply Parent Score: 2