Strategy (was Re: Improving copyright)

Jeroen Dekkers jeroen at
Sat May 15 08:52:00 UTC 2004

At Fri, 14 May 2004 22:15:12 +0100,
Niall Douglas wrote:
> On 14 May 2004 at 21:44, BenoƮt Sibaud wrote:
> > > Are we talking about the same system here? I can run my Win95 and
> > > often my DOS binaries unmodified on the latest Windows. A Linux
> > > binary from 1996 stands *zero* *chance* of running unmodified on the
> > > latest Linux.
> > 
> > Just for fun, on a Debian Sid 
> > [snip]
> Well you're not exactly comparing apples with apples here. Many 
> command line programs are simple enough that a FreeBSD built binary 
> runs on Linux fine because it uses nothing more than the basic POSIX 
> API (despite different clib's) which is of course identical on both 
> as both are compiled with GCC.

Totally wrong. You're talking about APIs, but compiled programs use
ABIs, which is a different thing. And no, the ABIs between the FreeBSD
C library and the GNU one are very different.

> Your typical 1996 Windows binary would contain a good portion of GUI 
> code and possibly some MFC or COM eg; WordPad. Let's leave out the 
> MFC and COM and assume it's a pure Win32 API application as that's 
> roughly equivalent to X11 - say Notepad.
> If you can find me an X11 binary from 1996 than runs unmodified on a 
> modern installation without using some legacy binary compatibility 
> package then I'll gladly retract my assertion.

Your assertion "A Linux binary from 1996 stands *zero* *chance* of
running unmodified on the latest Linux" is proven wrong.

And IMHO binary compatibility isn't really important. Source
compatibility is a lot more important, because you can just recompile
the program you have.

Jeroen Dekkers

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