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Re: Cross-distro binary compatibilty

On 7/7/05, Adam Stiles <adam@priceengines.co.uk> wrote:
> As I've said before, binary compatibility is irrelevant.

You have said it before, but that doesn't make the generalisation any
more true. Binary compatibility is essential for most computer users,
and even for most Linux users. The following binaries immediately
spring to my mind:

ATI graphics driver
Acrobat Reader
WMV decoder
Flash plugin
Inter C compiler

I agree that some of them do show the typical problems of closed
software, but still they do something for which there is no equivalent
OSS alternative.

> The only reason why you would ever want to be able to run a binary not
> compiled by you is if you did not have the source code; and if you don't have
> the source code, it's probably because someone doesn't want you to have it.


> If somebody doesn't want you to have the source code, then there is probably
> something in it that they are ashamed to show you.

That is only the paranoid explanation. The normally cited reason is
that they have developed the source code, so they keep it as a means
of power. Since power is money, that makes perfect sense.

> I won't run software written by cowards.  If there is no way to accomplish a
> task using purely Open Source tools, then I'll do it by hand -- or create a
> new tool and make it Open Source.

Then I guess I will be to busy during the next few years to post here... :-)

But I still think that the binary compatibility could be reached by a
flexible extension of ld.so and libdl. rpath is the main annoyance,
but it should be possible to relax the interpretation of rpath. And
libdl needs more flexibility anyway.


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