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What distributions want

Or A 101 lesson on how to ensure that your software package is available to the distribution users (which, incidentally, are the Linux users; while already the conglomerate Linux marketshare is pretty low when compared with Windows and OS X, the marketshare of not-really-distributions like Slackware or Linux from scratch is probably so trivial that you don’t have to care about them most of the time. That, and their users are usually not so much scared about installing stuff by themselves.

I’m posting this quickie because I’d like to tell one other thing to Ryan… yes, you are a drama queen. And you proven it right with your latest rant and it really upsets me that instead of trying to understand the problem your solution seems to be closing yourslef even more inside your little world. It upsets me because I can see you as a capable programmer and I’d prefer your capacity being used for something that people can benefit from, rather than wasted on stuff pointless, like FatELF.

The fact that instead of trying to understand the technical points that me and others made, and tell us why you think they are not good enough, you’re just closing yourself further. By saying that “lots of people talked about it” you’re just proving what you’re looking for: fame and glory. Without actual substantial results to back it up. Just an hint: the people who matters aren’t those who continue saying “FatELF will make distributions useless, will make it possible to develop cross-platform software, will solve the world’s hunger”; the people who matters are those that review FatELF for its technical side, and most of us already deemed it pointless; I already explained what I think about it.

Any ISV that thinks FatELF will solve their cross-distribution or cross-architecture problems have no idea what an ELF file is; they don’t really understand the whole situation at all. I’m pretty sure there are such ISV out there… but I wouldn’t really look forward for them to decide what to put inside the kernel and the other projects.

Do you want your software (your games) to be available to as many people as possible? Start working with the freaking distributions! You don’t need to have mastered all the possible package managers, you don’t even need to know about any of them directly, but you got to listen if packagers ask for some changes. If a packager asks you to unbundle a library or allow selecting between bundled or system library; do it, they have their reasons and they know how to deal with eventual incompatibilities. If a packager asks you to either change your installation structure or at least make it flexible, that’s because with a very few exceptions, distributions are fine with following the FHS.

Take a look to “Distributions-friendly packages”: part 1 part 2 and part 3 .

But no, Ryan’s solution here is again taking cheap shots to distributions and packagers, without actually noticing that, after more than ten years distributions are not going away.

Oh and the first commenter who will try to say again that FatELF is the solution, can please tell me how’s that going to ensure that the people writing the code will understand the difference between little endian and big endian? Or that the size of a pointer is not always 32-bit? Count that in as a captcha; if you cannot give me an answer to those two questions, your comment supporting FatELF as The Solution will be deleted.

Comments 3
  1. Sad thing is that FatELF is now included in sys-kernel/zen-sources. Seriously, some people need to think before embracing pointless patches.

  2. I entirely agree Flameeyes FatElf isn’t even what an OSX univeral binary isWhat we need is better tools so software developers can easily produce binaries for other platforms (and I don’t just mean x86 or amd64) cross-compilation is horrible to set up (I tried for quicker compilation of programs for PS3)

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