[nSLUG] Why you are not seeing software ported to Linux

Daniel Morrison draker at gmail.com
Wed Jun 22 22:19:15 ADT 2011

On 22 June 2011 21:30, D G Teed <donald.teed at gmail.com> wrote:
>> > When a CDROM won't boot Solaris or Windows, I know the
>> > drive or media is bad.
>> You have an 'or' in there, which means you don't really know anything.
> There is another possibility.  You don't understand.  But this says
> a lot about your intentions.  You don't seek to find an understanding,
> the approach is combative.

I'm sorry I was unclear in my statement. I did not mean to say that
you "don't know *anything*". What I meant was: given the ambiguity of
the situation with the CD, you cannot know with any certainty what the
problem is. You don't know anything *about the CD*.

I do sometimes come across as combative; this is a character flaw, I
acknowledge. However you are correct: I don't understand. You have
started a thread concerning ABI (binaries), API (programming), package
management (system administration), and a variety of other loosely
defined standards (or lack thereof) and you have made a number of
generalizations which spurred some responses. You don't really seem
interested in the responses however. It sounds more like you want a
platform to vent from (which is fine), but dislike it when others
assure you that it isn't as bad as you suggest.

> It isn't quite apples and oranges.  It is a failure to deliver what is
> claimed
> as supported.  It used to work in earlier Debian versions, so it isn't
> impossible.

Yes, OK.

> It is just a question of going beyond the QA standard of "it worked for me".

No, not necessarily. You assert that it doesn't work because the
developers are lazy. This is an unfair claim.

> I believe it (Debian 6 CD for Sparc) works from newer DVD drives only,
> but I have not verified.  Developers seems to be aware of the flaw
> but don't put a high priority on fixing it

...probably because it is not judged to be important.

> which I'd think must be possible due to past sucess.

Maybe. We don't know.

> What I am getting at is aiming for a standard, like those in engineering.
> Engineers don't build a bridge, drive a car across and declare it is
> safe based on the car getting across.  But software developers do,

LOL, that is exactly how the first bridges were made. Over hundreds of
years, engineering discipline has improved.

Software developers, in contrast, are a new breed, and so yes, you're
right... but they use only virtual cars. Software developers do not
actually hold your life in their hands. Some software is engineered
for mission-critical applications. It costs a lot more than Microsoft

> and especially those in the best efforts category of open source,
> reverse engineered drivers, wrapper drivers, reverse engineered protocols,
> etc.  It is the nature of the situation in many cases,

No, I simply do not agree. In general, paid software developers are
motivated by the pay cheque, and do the minimum required to get their
code to work, and to pass inspection by the very small number of
individuals who will ever look at it. Open source software developers
are more likely motivated by the code, rather than the money, and are
conscious that a virtually unlimited number of people may look at
their creation. "Many eyeballs make shallow bugs", or something like
that. Are you sure you understand the philosophy of Free Software?

Also, the days of reverse-engineered drivers and protocols, and
wrapper drivers, is mostly over. I'd wager >99% of open source code is
not in that category. And code that is in that category is considered
unreliable, hackish, stop-gap measures. As with many of your other
examples, it seems you are cherry-picking examples of bad code,
obscure or unique examples, and special cases, and comparing them with
broad generalizations (e.g. all 13-year-old windows code still works).
I don't buy it.

> but in others
> there could be higher standards, and it is particularly demonstrated
> when 7 year old hardware can't do things it used to.  The changes
> have broke things.

There could be higher standards. Like I said, there's lots I could
complain about (and I do, at times!). However I still would rather a
world with free software in it, than... I'll join Ben here. What is it
exactly that you're advocating? More care, attention and dedication to
duty, I think. This would also reduce traffic accidents. I'm all for


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