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Re: RFC: Better portability for package maintainers

On Sat, 2006-05-20 at 12:01 +0200, Petter Reinholdtsen wrote:
> [Erast Benson]
> > And thanks to upstream folks, 90% of OSS software is platform
> > independent and just works.
> Just to get the facts straight here.  I compile and port free software
> regularly to Linux, Solaris, Irix, HP-UX, Tru64 Unix, AIX and MacOSX,
> and do not share your view that 90% of "OSS software" (what is that?
> Lets call it free software for now), is platform independent.  I
> regularly run into build problems on all of these, because most free
> software is never before compiled with an ANSI C compiler (only GCC,
> which have a number of "extentions" not supported by ANSI C), and need
> rewrites to compile on Irix, HP-UX and AIX, which happen to have good
> and strict ANSI C compilers.  And there are heaps of endian problems
> (triggering on big-endian and alignment problems (triggering on hppa
> and sometimes sparc) too.  Luckily, GCC is getting closer and closer
> to ANSI C these days, so perhaps some time in the near future, the
> code developed by free software developers will be platform
> independent. :)

I don't want to argue about the numbers. Nobody can say for sure, but
from my "7000+ packages Solaris port" (yes we have 7000+ packages in
Nexenta APT repo now) experience, I could say software already ported in
most cases and upstream tarballs just works. The same true for FreeBSD.
Other OSes will catch over time too up to (once they open sourced).

> So I would say less than 20% of the free software is platform
> independent, based on personal problems.

Lets do not count non open sourced OSes for now.

> On the positive side, most of the upstream developers believe platform
> independence and standard compliance is a good thing, so patches are
> almost always accepted when submitted. :)

Sure. When bug is found in upstream, FreeBSD, OpenSolaris or Darwin
developers sends patches this way. But I think packaging bugs needs to
be handled by their maintainers or at least effort needs to be
coordinated somehow.


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