RPM compatibility

Michael L Torrie torriem at chem.byu.edu
Mon Feb 14 16:20:56 MST 2005


On Mon, 2005-02-14 at 12:00 -0700, David Smith wrote:
> Now, not to open a can of flames, but this is a point that I think the
> Linux community needs to work on. I can run a game on Windows XP that was
> initially written for Windows 3.1. We're talking complete with sound and
> video. Now that's pretty good backwards compatibility. If I took a Linux
> program from the same era and tried to run it on, say, Fedora Core 3, it
> would probably segfault immediately.

No.  It should run fine.  I can run old RedHat 5.x (a.out, libc5)
programs just fine on fedora core 3, provided I have the older runtime
shared libraries installed.  You simply need compatibility libaries
installed.  This is no different from Windows where you require certain
old vbruntimes, etc.

The problem that you are really talking about is better compared to DLL
hell.  Linux is linux and as long as you have proper kernel support for
old binary formats and the shared libraries lying around, the binaries
will run just fine.  However, take an old program that uses some so
files that you no longer have and you'll have problems.  This no
different than trying to run an old 16-bit VB program on windows XP.
It's possible, but you will have do some work.

To summarize.  The problem is DLL hell and how package managers deal
with multiple versions of share libraries (can you install libtiff-1 and
libtiff-2 simultaniously?).  These are solvable problems.  I must say,
though, that with nice repositories specific to my distro out there, I
rarely have to install anything not packaged for FC3 for example.  apt-
get works week.

Michael





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