On Wed, 23 Jan 2008, Charles McGarvey wrote:
> But this is debatable, so I will return to the original point. As a
> Linux user, I love the availability of source code, but I must also
> admit if I am being objective that Linux would be improved by somehow
> improving binary distribution.
When it comes to installing 3rd party (non-FOSS) stuff, I think everyone's
agreed that there's room for improvement. It is being worked on by some
(though don't expect it today or tomorrow):
To be fair, the other side of the coin is that installation and in
particular maintenance of packaged FOSS software on debian-based distros is
_so_ straightforward it embarrasses most other platforms. Dependency hell
was mentioned -- a phenomenon I (as a constant linux user and sysadmin)
haven't dealt with in years.
> I'm not smart enough to know how to make it better, but I will say that
> it makes sense to attribute Linux being "held back" at least partially to
> this problem with binary distribution since it logically would follow
> that more software vendors would write software for Linux if it were
Whether it holds back linux depends on your view of what linux should be
like. If "free software" is your goal, facilitating proprietary software
on linux might be a retrograde step. People might be likely to build free
software where the proprietary equivalent works well on linux. I'm not
advocating this view, I'm just pointing out that it's not as simple as
"linux is broken".
I think the situation certainly holds back proprietary software on linux.
But then, many linux users are happy with that situation. Particularly
with drivers -- proprietary drivers are a total PITA on linux and cause
lots of problems which would not be improved by linux being more
standardised (indeed much of windows' past instability issues have been
blamed by microsoft on 3rd party drivers). ATI (since AMD bought them)
seem to now be moving in the non-proprietary direction which might not have
happened had they been better facilitated with proprietary drivers.
As regards user-space software like games, there's less of a pure technical
argument against proprietary software which I guess is why people like
Murdock and the LSB are interested in improving the situation.
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