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Re: Stable means not-changing?

On Sep 23, Bob Nielsen wrote
> I guess this confuses me even more!  Are libc4, libc5 and libc6 completely
> independent of each other, or are they versions of something which began
> as "libc".

They are somewhat independent: 
libc4 is the Linux C library for use with the a.out format of binaries.
   (it is a heavily hacked version of GNU libc version one)
libc5 is the Linux C library for use with the ELF binary format.
licb6 is the GNU C library (version two) for use with the ELF binary format.
   The advantage: it is much cleaner designed & implemented, better for
   standards compliance (e.g. POSIX) but still includes the good stuff from
   Linux libc

Although they share parts of their code, to a user they are more or less

> In either case, why would one want to compile for more than one at a time?

We maintainers want to be able to compile code for libc5, so users of the
current stable tree can get updates in case of security fixes and such.

> I take it they are neither upward nor downward compatible.

You have to distinguish between source and binary compatibility. 
There is no binary compatibility: you cannot run libc4 binary with libc5;
you have to have libc4 installed on that system to.
There is source compatibility (but not 100%): you can compile most well
written C code with libc4, 5 and 6.

PATRIOTISM  A great British writer once said that if he had to choose 
between betraying his country and betraying a friend he hoped he would
have the decency to betray his country.                                      
- The Hipcrime Vocab by Chad C. Mulligan 

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