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Re: Reverse Compatibility Manifesto

On Fri, 14 Nov 2008 20:19:18 -0500
"William M. Quarles" <walrus bellsouth net> wrote:

> And just because a "free" software product hasn't been updated in a 
> while does not mean that the software is useless.

The kernel is actually very backward compatible friendly. Very
seldom has the kernel itself busted anything (removing support
for old style ptys is one instance I can think of).

The thing that almost always causes problems is shared libraries
being updated to a state of incompatibility, then no "compat" packages
being maintained to ship the old libraries.

I've often thought it would be better if all software was always shipped
with all the shared libs it needs installed in a unique per-program
directory, and a system daemon run after each install to determine
which libs were actually identical and hard-link them together :-).

If virtualization technology keeps on being pushed, perhaps we'll someday
reach the point where every program runs inside its very own virtual machine
with the exact environment required by that program always maintained
in the perfect state for that one program's requirements.

At one time it was possible to avoid all these problems by static
linking your program, but with every library now being written to
dlopen some ridiculous plugin, attempts to static link things
usually result in nonsense like dlopen dragging in libc.so to
a program which was already linked with libc.a, and pretty soon you have
two conflicting copies of malloc stomping on each other (I didn't
just make this up - I've watched it happen :-).

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