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Re: Linux Core Consortium

On Thu, 2004-12-09 at 11:23 -0800, Michael K. Edwards wrote: 
> Name changes are a superficial design flaw that obscures the
> fundamental design flaw in this proposal -- sharing binaries between
> Linux distributions is a bad idea to begin with.
> Fixing ABI forks, and articulating best known practices about managing
> ABI evolution going forward, that's a good idea.  Building an open
> source test kit that exercises the shared ABIs, validating that the
> test kit builds substantially the same on each distro, and helping
> ISVs resolve issues that the test kit missed (and add them as new test
> cases), that's even better.  But if two competent packagers, working
> on different distros, can't get the same ABI out of the same source
> code, then upstream's build procedures are badly broken -- and I don't
> want that papered over by passing binaries around!

You've just described the way the LSB has done it for years, which thus
far, hasn't worked--while there are numerous LSB-certified distros,
there are exactly zero LSB-certified applications. The reason for this
is that "substantially the same" isn't good enough--ISVs want *exactly
the same*, and there's a good reason for that, as evidenced by the fact
that while Debian is technically (very nearly) LSB compliant, there are
still a lot of edge cases like file system and package namespace
differences that fall outside the LSB that vastly complicate the
"certify to an ABI, then support all distros that implement
the ABI as defined by whether or not it passes a test kit" model.

I'm not knocking the LSB--by definition, the LSB codifies existing
standards, i.e., things everyone already agree with. The things
we're talking about here (package naming differences, network
configuration differences, all that) are clearly points of disagreement
between distributions (perhaps backed more by inertia than by anything
else). The LCC aims to complement the LSB by agreeing on a single set of
solutions for these edge cases, then by putting the necessary glue in
place to make sure whatever inertia or otherwise has propagated
the differences for so long doesn't remain an insurmountable obstacle.
And with enough mass, the edge cases become "stuff we agree on".

Ian Murdock
317-578-8882 (office)

"All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in
the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was
vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may
act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible." -T.E. Lawrence

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