Linked by Jordan Spencer Cunningham on Mon 11th Jan 2010 15:57 UTC
Original OSNews Interviews A few weeks ago, we asked for the OSNews community to help with some questions we were going to ask Aaron Griffin from the Arch Linux team, and the response was glorious and somewhat phenomenal. We added those questions to our own and sent them on over, and then we were surprised by receiving not only Aaron Griffin's responses but answers from various individuals from the team.
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RE[5]: Ugh
by Laurence on Tue 12th Jan 2010 20:40 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Ugh"
Laurence
Member since:
2007-03-26

I said at least provide a standard base that distros follow. Anyways most of the distros are completely pointless. It makes more sense to have an OS that is modular in design that can modified for a variety of purposes while maintaining binary compatibility.

Err, Linux IS modular in design and can be modified for a variety of purposes while maintaining binary compatibility.

You're being disingenuous. Linux is much different to Windows AND OSX in that regard since you can't build a single GUI executable and expect it to to work across all distros for a reasonable amount of time.

You can. I've already stated that. Stop trying to spread BS.
The problem with Linux (if you can call it that) is that it's a rolling release - so where as in Windows, you have a major release every 3 to 5 years (on average), you have lots of minor releases in Linux.
Sometimes these minor releases will break things. But then I've had service packs break Windows too - let alone whole OS upgrades break apps.

So yes, Linux binaries won't work indefinitly - but then neither will Windows binaries.


The Linux ecosystem is designed with the assumption that user software is open source. If the goal is adoption by the public then it doesn't make sense to design the system completely around open source.

Again that's absolute BS. It makes no difference whether the source is open or not.
Plus ArchLinux and all the big user-centric distros push binaries out via their repositories. So the users never need know the source code was optionally downloadable.


The binary compatibility across Linux distros that exists is for small command line programs, and even then it is limited since the distros can't even agree on basics like where user programs and settings should be stored.

Again that's completely rubbish.
You do realise that there's plenty of large closed source apps available for Linux? VirtualBox (not the OSE but the more feature-rich edition) is closed AND has a GUI. And given the complexity of virtualisation, I'd hardly define that as a small command line program.

In the Linux sense of the word. By general definition a repository is storage system. You can store safe executables for the user to download. There is no reason why this must be a feature exclusive to shared library systems.

Right, I get you.


No I'm not, it's all a part of the same problematic software distribution system. Package managers attempt to resolve dependencies but applications still get broken by updates.

You still don't get it. The package managers /DO/ resolve the issue. Sure, there's occations when things still go tits up. But then that's the case with EVERY OS.
Operating systems are infinity complex - so sh*t happens.

However, try and manually resolve dependancies in Linux (rather than using the "problematic software distribution") and I bet you'd instantly run into troubles.

So trust me when I say that package managers have made life a HELL OF A LOT easier on Linux.

I said that going to the command line is typically needed to fix dependency breaks.

Here's an example:
http://itechlog.com/linux/2008/12/18/fix-broken-package-ubuntu/

That link has nothing to do with your arguement (it's details on how to fix a package that corrupted on install and nothing to do with dependancies).


The tailoring wouldn't be needed if the distros had a common library base and directory structure.

But for the most part they DO (and those that don't, don't because of very specific reasons and usually the same reasons why they forked to start with)

Personally I like the fact that there's lots of different distros. Sure it complicates things, but at least I get to run the system I want without compromise.


The shared library system was designed in a completely different era when saving hard drive space was a priority. That is no longer an issue and now the remaining benefits can be adopted within an independent system where applications can have their own libraries that can't be broken by a system update.


While I get what you're driving at - this is never an issue for the home users as package managers are bloody good these days. So I still think you're massively overstating the problem.
Sure, the devs at ArchLinux (and other distro devs) might get fed up from time to time.
However they're the ones in the position to make the change (as bad as it sounds - it's not my problem, it's theres. So I'll invest my spare time developing solutions to problems I encounter)

Trying reading my response more carefully next time instead of just skimming it and providing a knee-jerk response. It isn't a Windows vs Linux issue. It's a software engineering issue.

Your initial post used Windows as a comparison and it's just continued from there. ;)

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[6]: Ugh
by nt_jerkface on Wed 13th Jan 2010 01:04 in reply to "RE[5]: Ugh"
nt_jerkface Member since:
2009-08-26


Err, Linux IS modular in design and can be modified for a variety of purposes while maintaining binary compatibility.

That's why I said OS, as in a full operating system, not a kernel. The problem is that there isn't binary compatibility across distros that use the Linux kernel.

So yes, Linux binaries won't work indefinitly - but then neither will Windows binaries.

No one expects Windows binaries to work indefinitely. However you can expect them to work for the life of the operating system. Both Windows and OSX see the value in offering developers a stable platform. With Linux you can't even expect them to work between minor updates.


It makes no difference whether the source is open or not.

I was talking about user software. The software distribution systems are all designed around open source. You run into massive headaches when you work outside that system. Not just through distribution but because the distro clusterfu*ck is dealt with by releasing the source and having the package managers downstream account for the differences.


You do realise that there's plenty of large closed source apps available for Linux? VirtualBox (not the OSE but the more feature-rich edition) is closed AND has a GUI. And given the complexity of virtualisation, I'd hardly define that as a small command line program.

There are closed source apps available for Linux but the companies that produce them still have to account for all the differences. Companies that release a single tar file are hiding all the "poke in the dark" scripts that have to be built to deal with all the distros. Even if you release for a couple distros you still end up building multiple binaries.

Opera's Linux section shows what supporting multiple distros really looks like. Note that some distros have multiple packages for differing versions.
http://www.opera.com/download/index.dml?platform=linux



As for VirtualBox it is open source while VMWare is closed source. VMWare has in fact been broken multiple times by updates.

http://www.netritious.com/virtualization/fix-vmware-after-ubuntu-up...

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[7]: Ugh
by Laurence on Wed 13th Jan 2010 07:54 in reply to "RE[6]: Ugh"
Laurence Member since:
2007-03-26

I think, for the most part, we're going to just have to agree to disagree on this one.

However one item I can categorically prove is VBox.

Past discussion:

"
You do realise that there's plenty of large closed source apps available for Linux? VirtualBox (not the OSE but the more feature-rich edition) is closed AND has a GUI. And given the complexity of virtualisation, I'd hardly define that as a small command line program.

[snip]
As for VirtualBox it is open source while VMWare is closed source.
"

Response:
See the following link and scroll down:
http://www.virtualbox.org/wiki/Downloads
^ as I clearly stated, there is an OSE (open source edition) and a closed binary.

The closed binary has more features than the OSE and is the version people typically use when downloading outside of package managers (which leads to incorrect assumptions - like yourself - that they're using "open source").

Furthermore, I think you'll find that many of VMWare's products are open source as well:
http://www.vmware.com/download/open_source.html
(though I'd wager the licence isn't as "open" as GPL/BSD - but that's just a guess based on their previous business model)

Edited 2010-01-13 07:57 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2