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Re: Policy proposal for compatibility packages

Les Mikesell <lesmikesell <at> gmail.com> writes:
> Free vs. non-free has nothing to do with the issue.  It has to do with 
> how long you want existing binaries to continue to work, and how long 
> you want to enable/encourage people to continue to compile in a way that 
> does not use the current API.  There is never a reason to break existing 
> binaries unless you hate your users or there is no other way to move 
> forward.  But you may want to make it obvious that things should not 
> continue to be compiled against the deprecated API.

You are still missing my point!

Proprietary software comes as a binary blob, they'll not give a rat's behind 
about there no longer being a -devel package for the library they're building 
against, they can build on another distribution, build on an old version of the 
distribution, build their own version of the library etc., only they need 
the -devel package anyway, the user only gets the readily-linked blob. They'll 
keep using obsolete libraries as long as they can get away with it because that 
way, with the same blob, they can also service ancient obsolete distributions 
and (most importantly to them) "enterprise" distributions, and removing 
the -devel package will do nothing to stop them from doing that.

Free Software, on the other hand, usually comes as source code. So, if the code 
doesn't compile against the latest version of the library, you (the user) need 
the -devel package for the compat library to be able to still build that 
software. Now of course, you can in principle fix the Free Software to build 
(unlike a proprietary blob), but in practice this isn't always so easy.

        Kevin Kofler

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