[Fedora-packaging] Re: paragraph on shipping static numerical libs

Axel Thimm Axel.Thimm at ATrpms.net
Sun May 27 20:01:36 UTC 2007

On Sun, May 27, 2007 at 04:27:02PM +0100, Jonathan Underwood wrote:
> On 27/05/07, Matthias Clasen <mclasen at redhat.com> wrote:
> >On Sun, 2007-05-27 at 10:15 +0200, Patrice Dumas wrote:
> >
> >> I only advocate shipping static libraries, no statically linked packages
> >> against those libraries. These libs are for use for locally compiled
> >> programs, not for packages shipped with fedora. So no maintainance
> >> issue.

> Besides which, if you were to want to statically link a binary and
> send it to run elsewhere, Fedora isn't the platform to be doing it on.
> If you're looking for that sort of portability, you should be using a
> consistent and reliable platform for the calculations, like RHEL.

Whatever policies Fedora follows here, RHEL will not be different, so
if static libs don't exist on Fedora, they will unlikely do so on a
RHEL release of the same timeframe.

> The right fix here is to educate scientific programmers as to why
> statically linking in libraries doesn't actually get them what they
> want, and that it is broken.

Actually the situation in scientific camps is not that easy. There are
tons of situations where having a statically linked binary saves the
day. You typically have a complete mix of very heterogeneous Linux
distributions and releases thereof with semi-bogus libs under
/usr/local as a bonus. At least that's what larger phys/chem
institutions and educational facilities look like in
de/uk/fr/ru. Institutions that have enough budget to hire a large IT
staff look a bit different and are located in the US and Japan. :)

And you also have aged distros, for example a project I was working on
until lately is Fedora loyal, but is still running FC4. But I need
gfortran of at least FC5 to build my code.

It is also quite common for scientific networks (networks as in
networked institutions, not as in byte traffic ones) to share binaries
for 100% reproducablity as well. Sometimes even the slightest
optimization in normal operations or slight ieee754 violations in libs
will change the result in the range of 10^-16 and validation will
fail. Just feed some Lanczos code with it and see *every* Fedora
release giving you a different result.

It's a situation where you either demand from the user to adapt to
your distro or your distro adapts to the users. And believe me the
users in scientific camps take the line of least resistance, if Fedora
doesn't deliver they will look around what does. I've lost many former
academic RHL "customers" to Gentoo and Ubuntu (not sure how they deal
with static libs, though).
Axel.Thimm at ATrpms.net
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