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Re: How to build RHEL software to run on Debian?

Matt England wrote:
I'm a software developer, and I would like one set of software binaries (applications, libraries) to be able to run across many Linux platforms, including FedoraCore, Redhat Enterprise Linux, and Debian (much the same way XAMPP -- http://www.apachefriends.org/en/xampp.html -- claims that its one Linux binary distribution runs on all SuSE, Redhat, Mandrake, and Debian).

What sort of things must I do as a developer to do this?

Should I carry as many of the dynamically-linked libraries around with my distribution? Should these include libc/glibc in my own distribution set?

Anything else?

Is this a worthwhile endeavor? Have people tried this before? Obviously it appears to be a key point for XAMPP (per above) and I suspect many more software sets. It sure would be nice for my project to have one binary for many systems--it really cuts down on my build-control logistics.

I'm just getting started in this investigation. I may be posting to several different Linux communities (newsgroups, email lists, forums, etc). I started with the Debian community because I have a build environment on RHEL, and am porting to Debian.

 Thanks for any help.


ps: I am very familiar and have over a decade of experience with managing software projects that make portable code across 8 different unix variants, VMS, and several Windows flavors. Therefore, I'd like this discussion to focus primarily on how to make the *binaries* portable and not the _code_ portable. Thanks.

I'd say that portable binaries are even tougher than portable code. Making your app so that it can run from its own self-contained hierarchy from /usr/local/foo or /opt/foo would probably be the easiest. Other than that, I believe that there are tools that spec files and try to generate .debs (I don't mean like alien, but rather building a .deb from an RPM spec). I imagine that there are probably also tools to do the reverse.

Of course, if the package is not very complex, i.e., does not require any pre- or post- install or removal actions and can just drop in and go, then you can probably just generate one form of package and use alien to convert to the other.

Personally, I would just try to get someone to volutneer to maintain the software in whatever target distro you like. Personally, I am not often compelled to go to 3rd parties for software and am much more likely to use something if it is already in the official Debian archive. I am not sure if users of other distros are of the same opinion, but I imagine that many are.


Roberto C. Sanchez

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