Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 5th Nov 2009 23:05 UTC
Linux As we all know, Mac OS X has support for what is called 'fat binaries'. These are binaries that can carry code for for instance multiple architectures - in the case of the Mac, PowerPC and x86. Ryan Gordon was working on an implementation of fat binaries for Linux - but due to the conduct of the Linux maintainers, Gordon has halted the effort.
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nt_jerkface
Member since:
2009-08-26

Isn't it an elegant system? Instead of relying on binaries provided by your distribution, you have to download from third parties directly (now that's a great idea, isn't it). Not only you waste more bandwidth and disk space, but you'll also depend on apps to nag you about updates or silently update themselves. I miss the days when tech-inclined people were smart.


I don't see anything smart about defending a system that was designed to save space in an era before gigabyte drives even existed. Trying to save bandwidth is also a joke in the age of broadband. The repository system solves problems from the disco age.

As for updates a central repository system also has to nag or update silently.

So what is left? What is the big advantage of the shared library system? Software can be installed automagically? You don't need shared libraries to do that. Software is kept in a secure place? No need for shared libraries there either.

There's nothing elegant about the shared library system. It's more of a hack that creates unneeded interdependencies. Programs still get broken and it requires additional labor to maintain. If you want to talk about wasting resources just think about how much work has gone into people fixing/maintaining the repository system in comparison to OSX/Windows where the users simply run the program without dealing with a middle man.

ISVs hate it because it gives them less independence, among other reasons.

The Apple engineers ditched the shared library system when they made OSX. Were they not smart either?

If you want to defend 70's tech then go ahead, but I'm sick of this attitude by Linux advocates who believe that people who criticize Unix/Linux are stupid. The original Unix design is not the omega of operating systems. Even the people that created it wanted to reform it years later (plan 9).

Edited 2009-11-07 02:18 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 3

vivainio Member since:
2008-12-26

So what is left? What is the big advantage of the shared library system?


- Reduces memory use

- Bugfixes. If a security vulnerability is fixed in a library, every app benefits without having to be updated.

- Yes, drive space. Many mobile devices still have root filesystem on small fast flash drive.

If you want to defend 70's tech then go ahead, but I'm sick of this attitude by Linux advocates who believe that people who criticize Unix/Linux are stupid.


Not really stupid - rather, it's about a knee jerk reaction when leaving their comfort zone. They mostly have experience with click-and-run installers, and want the same on Linux too. And these days, we have many click-and-run installers for Linux available. There is nothing in Linux that prevents you from making them (or makes it exceedingly hard, either).

Reply Parent Score: 2

nt_jerkface Member since:
2009-08-26

Reduces memory use -


Insignificant when the typical laptop comes with 2gb of ram.


Bugfixes. If a security vulnerability is fixed in a library, every app benefits without having to be updated.


And if the update breaks another app? Shared library systems have their own risk in that they sometimes can't patch a file without breaking another app. This can result in a much longer delay for a patch then you would have with a program that updates directly from the developer.


- Yes, drive space. Many mobile devices still have root filesystem on small fast flash drive.


As I said before small devices take small files. The shared library system isn't needed for embedded development. There are plenty of cell phone operating systems that don't use shared libraries.

And these days, we have many click-and-run installers for Linux available. There is nothing in Linux that prevents you from making them (or makes it exceedingly hard, either).


There is no click-n-run installer that works across all distros and makes adjustments for all version differences. There isn't even a standard "program files" directory among distros. It's a big mess and there is no installer that reconciles it.

The burden of making such an installer shouldn't be on ISVs. They shouldn't have to mess with scripts to determine which distro you are using, which version, which window manager, etc. They should be able to dump the program files and libraries into an isolated directory and not have to worry about dependency issues. Users should be able to install or uninstall proprietary applications with a control menu.

Distros simply aren't designed to do that. They are designed around shared library repositories. ISVs run into endless problems when working outside the repository system. Many end up just treating all the distros like individual operating systems.

This is what the end result looks like:
http://www.opera.com/download/index.dml?platform=linux

Most ISVs don't have the resources to support a dozen operating systems that only make up 1% of the market. Even those that do probably decide that porting isn't worth the effort.

Reply Parent Score: 2

MysterMask Member since:
2005-07-12


- Reduces memory use


Is this supposed to be a joke?


- Bugfixes. If a security vulnerability is fixed in a library, every app benefits without having to be updated.


Meanwhile, every app using that lib is vulnerable. Congrats!


- Yes, drive space. Many mobile devices still have root filesystem on small fast flash drive.


What a killer feature! Meanwhile, other systems like MacOSX can exist on small mobile devices quite well despite universal binaries. Of course, you can strip unwanted architectures from universal binaries.




"If you want to defend 70's tech then go ahead, but I'm sick of this
attitude by Linux advocates who believe that people who criticize Unix/Linux are stupid.


Not really stupid - rather, it's about a knee jerk reaction when leaving their comfort zone. They mostly have experience with click-and-run installers, and want the same on Linux too. And these days, we have many click-and-run installers for Linux available. There is nothing in Linux that prevents you from making them (or makes it exceedingly hard, either).
"

Fully agree with the first poster. Somehow Linux people always come up with good reasons for server or mobile devices that makes it impossible to adopt something that would be user friendly for a desktop situation - and then, they wonder why "the year of Linux on the desktop" still has not arrived ..

Reply Parent Score: 2