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Re: multiarch/bi-arch status (ETA) question

On Tue, 5 Jul 2005, Adam Stiles wrote:

Binary compatibility is irrelevant at best  {every Linux machine already has a
compiler installed}  and harmful at worst  {Windows has wide-scale binary
compatibility -- and rampant malware}.  All that matters is _source_
compatibility:  that the same source code will compile cleanly on a range of
different architectures.  Thanks to the excellent work done by the GNU
project in developing their compiler suite and automated configuration /
building tools, source compatibility is already a reality.  And processors
are fast enough now that there is no time saved in using precompiled

I've heard this argument before. Maybe I misunderstand, but it seems to amount to:

1) We don't care about anything that's not free software. (This is already too much for most people, but let's say that's no problem...)

2) We believe that C/C++ is usually magically portable across hardware architectures.

3) For any software, like say wine, mplayer with win32 emulation, etc, where the magic doesn't work, we expect you to _not_ switch architectures, or _not_ use that software, until you port it properly. (If you "cheat" with binary compatibility, porting may go too slowly, or may not happen at all.)

This is where I fail to see the logic that binary compatibility is harmful. We all migrate sometime. This is a migration aid. For some time period it's quite possible that binary compatibility is the optimal solution when considering the costs/benefits. Impracticality need not be the new credo of free software...

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