[LAD] Releasing source code is not enough, I think...

Philipp Überbacher murks at tuxfamily.org
Tue Jan 21 16:40:31 UTC 2014

On Tue, 21 Jan 2014 05:55:04 +0000
Filipe Coelho <falktx at gmail.com> wrote:

> Hi there everyone, specially developers.
> I think we should stop assuming releasing source code is enough.
> [GNU/] Linux is getting more user friendly, and most users are not
> able to compile software,
> plus some distributions make it specially hard (debian, ubuntu,
> fedora, opensuse) by having the libs installed but not the headers.
> Releasing software on windows or mac, even open-source, *always*
> comes in a binary,
> and most users come from there.

Hi Filipe,

I do think that releasing source code is enough.
What is more important than binaries is to have a sane and properly
configured build system. By that I mean standard tools like Makefiles,
waf, scons, CMake or whatever is used nowadays with a sane standard
configuration and the necessary switches to account for the differences
between the distributions.

I mean this in contrast to half-arsed and ad-hoc solutions. Just
yesterday I spent the whole evening unsuccessfully trying to build a
piece of software that uses a half-working CMake configuration combined
with binary blobs of dependencies and a bunch of distro-specific
shell scripts. The more I tried to fix it, the worse it got.

Or take LuaAV, a piece of software I've tried to build twice during the
last few years, unsuccessfully. They have a ubuntu-specific shell
script to install the dependencies and a custom lua script to build.

Stuff like that sucks, it sucks who just want to give it a shot, it
sucks for packagers, and it sucks for people who want to contribute. A
binary package would only help the first group, and that is assuming it
works without problems on any system.

I don't think that 'magic binaries' that are easy to build and work
everywhere are possible. If you are right and there are fewer
technically inclined users and developers, we should conserve their
time instead of wasting it on building distro specific packages. 


JID: murks at jit.si

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