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Re: Bug#754513: ITP: libressl -- SSL library, forked from OpenSSL

> I would like to make it co-installable with OpenSSL, but in general,
> this should be a drop-in replacement until APIs really diverge in a
> visible way. Yes, it would provide 'openssl', but I intend to place them
> into a different directory, so you might have to use LD_PATH to get
> them.

That reminds me of what we were trying to do with Xaw in the late 1990s.
Short story -- we tried and we failed.  I wish you better luck, but I fear
that you're setting on a course that will bring you a lot of pain.

In the late 1990s, the only widget set that was free, usable and vendor-
neutral was Xaw , which was fairly functional but whose appearance was
already somewhat dated.


There were two "drop in" libraries that were meant to provide binary
compatibility with Xaw but with a more pleasant appearance, called Xaw3d
and (I think) NextAw.  Branden Robinson's plan was to allow the user to
select the appearance by setting LD_LIBRARY_PATH to point at one or the
other of the Xaw libraries.

It worked reasonably well as long as the user was just using the sample
applications provided with X.  However, real applications would sometimes
subclass widgets, which would cause them to crash unpredictably.  Whenever
we got a crash report against an Xaw application, the first question was
"does unsetting LD_LIBRARY_PATH fix it?".

After XFree86 changed the Xaw ABI with Xaw6, Branden finally gave up, and
agreed to make Xaw3d an independent library that applications could link
against rather than a drop-in replacement.  Then Xaw got obsoleted by Gtk+,
and the point became moot.

History does not necessarily repeat itself, of course.  Thanks for
listening to an old man's story.

-- Juliusz

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