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Again about glibc 2.14, RPC and modern software

It looks like my previous post on glibc 2.14 made it to reddit – even though it made not much of an impression to flattr – and there is at least one interesting question asked there, about what software is using RPC that I wasn’t expecting.

While it is definitely true that I underestimated the amount of systems still using the old-style NIS, standing to the commenters on my other post about PAM, there is a long list of packages that make use of glibc’s RPC subsystem that I didn’t expect. All of this definitely doesn’t make for an interface that is dying without replacement, as one commenter expressed:

Except that no one uses Sun RPC for that. It’s only application in modern unixes is NFS, so it does not really belong to libc. nfs-utils and libtirpc should handle that. Same goes for NIS and other remnants from the dark ages. Removing unused bloat from the fundamental system library is actually a good thing.

And for the record, RPC will not be removed from “the fundamental system library”: code for the RPC implementation is still all there, it’s just hidden and disallowed from being linked to, which means that the packages that use the interface will not build, but those that were built before (or the binary packages that come prebuilt) will not fail to run on the new library. No “bloat” removed.

Okay, so what are those packages? Well, for once let’s see at something I have worked on myself for a while and that is actively developed to this very moment: libvirt. that, while obviously designed to work well with libtirpc, can’t be installed on glibc 2.14 (as libtirpc is not fixed yet). And its RPC usage has nothing to do with NFS either. On the other hand, it seems like watchdog, lsof, quota, autofs and possibly tcpdump do need it for NFS support.

I don’t know much about them, but the list of packages requiring RPC includes oc, torque, libcult, libassa, hamlib, lives, xinetd, db (yes Berkeley DB), libdap, tcb, netkit-rusers, netkit-bootparamd, ogdi, charm, netkit-rwall, gs-assembler, ctdb, perdition, amanda, scilab and R….

I haven’t started fixing any of these myself, I have way too much things on my plate already and this is not an high enough priority for me to tackle in my free time, but at least I can report and keep tabs on them. It’s enough for now I guess.

Comments 2
  1. I can Build db-4.8.*(Berkeley DB) without any problem with glibc 2.14. But no go for portmap…

  2. Solution is simple, fix libtirpc to include all required interfaces. Doing that is more problematic actually but well – the only “proper” solution.

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