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Re: Cross-distro binary compatibilty

On Wed, 6 Jul 2005, Goswin von Brederlow wrote:

Go to snapshot.debian.net and fish out the right library versions
suse/rh uses, install them, install the same packages (inetd/xinetd)
suse/rh uses and voila. Compatibility.

Even if libraries were the only issue, aren't there times when the right version (or lib altogether) isn't packaged? And what about the effects of "distro-proprietary" patches to important things (we've seen it all, from major tweaks to gcc, to important paths changing)?

In any case the user must figure out whatever dependency is broken, figure out what satisfies it, go to snapshot.debian.net... etc. It is time-consuming and impractical. Most users are excluded.

The right answer is probably for the binary distributor to use the distro's package management system, but there you have it: every distro uses a different one, or worse, they use the same ones but in subtly different ways. So nobody even tries to support them all. They pick RPM (or once in a while, deb), or they don't even bother.

If you don't do that you can also claim that SuSe isn't SuSe
compatible as you can have exactly the same version/package skews
within one distro.

You're right of course - even within a distro, binary compatibility isn't really that great.

So here we have the schizophrenia of our community with relation to binary distribution. On the one hand we sometimes casually claim that it works, and we sometimes expect it to work. When the rubber hits the road it becomes obvious that it's both ugly and impractical for users/developers. Then the story switches to others saying that we are an FS/OS community, and asking "what are you doing distributing binaries anyway?" Later you hear that we're really only geared towards source distribution (for distro-independent developers).

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