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

Filipe Coelho falktx at gmail.com
Tue Jan 21 17:15:31 UTC 2014

On 01/21/2014 05:09 PM, Gene Heskett wrote:
> On Tuesday 21 January 2014 11:50:12 Filipe Coelho did opine:
>> On 01/21/2014 04:40 PM, Philipp ـberbacher wrote:
>>> 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.
>> This point is exactly why I think binaries are needed.
> IMO, no.  Binaries ALWAYS turn out to have been built on some system
> needing some obscure library that isn't available on the system you are
> running.  So, wanting to try it, one wastes several hours downloading and
> trying to build the missing dependencies until one finally realizes that on
> the distro you are using, its never going to happen.  So please, give us a
> tarball of the source, with enough tools to build it from scratch so it
> does have a snowballs chance in hell of actually running on our system.
> If it won't build on a 4 year old ubuntu LTS using nothing but the build-
> essentials tools, the chances of its building anyplace but on your home
> machine aren't too measurable.  Give us a source only tarball that builds
> there, and you will have around half the bases covered.

That's why I want to make a developer-oriented tutorial about this.
It will explain how to get gcc4.8 in an old Ubuntu 10.04 chroot, 
together with a few static libs as well.
(It's the same method I'm using for building generic debian packages)

I've been using this for my own software binaries and the only complaint 
I received was about a CentOS user (it required qt >= 4.6, which he 
didn't have).

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