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Re: Slink to potato upgrade

Robert Woodcock <rcw@debian.org> writes:

> On Tue, Mar 23, 1999 at 11:41:52AM +0000, Kevin Dalley wrote:
> > First we should make a decision as to whether glibc2.1 *should* be a
> > separate soname.  If so, then we should talk to the rest of the Linux
> > community and decide how to resolve the issue.
> This is not our decision to make. It is the decision of the upstream
n> authors (the decision that influenced their entire 2.1 development path),
> and they have very clearly decided that for us.
> You have shown no respect for their decision.

I have respect for the source code the developers have produced.  It
appears to be a very good implementation of the C library.  However,
upgrading shared libraries is a very tricky problem.  These libraries
must work with programs the library developers have never seen.  The
decisions should be made by a bigger group of people than just the
library develeopers. There is a balancing act.  We must provide our
users with tools which work for them, while providing a conforming

We don't want our users to upgrade to stable potato and say:
	Oh shit, my program has stopped working.  It won't even
	compile.  I need to get my work done now, I don't have time to
	fix the program until next month.  I'm screwed.  I should have
	stayed with Microsoft.

Part of the reason there are problems with glibc2.1 is that the older
libraries didn't quite follow the GNU coding standards:

	External symbols that are not documented entry points for the user
	should have names beginning with `_'.

I believe that some external symbols lack the '_', allowing, maybe
even encouraging users to depend on insufficiently documented features.

> It's not "many" applications though. They can be counted on two hands, and
> that number will easily go down to one hand by the time potato is frozen.
> (It won't go down to 0 - some of the breakage is in things like staroffice
> that aren't packaged in debian)

The number can't be counted by us.  We don't know what our users have
on their machines.  We *cannot* fix the problem by fixing all of our
applications, because we can't fix our user's applications.

> It's not "many users code" either. It's only affecting people who don't play
> by the rules and use library interfaces that don't officially exist.

Please give a list of all of the rules which are violated.  It isn't
only undocumented interfaces.  

> I'm using glibc 2.1 right now. It works fine. If it was such a big deal, I
> wouldn't be able to type this to you.

glibc2.1 works fairly well, though I still have a number of broken
programs on my machine.

Kevin Dalley
SETI Institute

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