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

Axel Thimm Axel.Thimm at ATrpms.net
Mon May 28 09:34:38 UTC 2007

On Mon, May 28, 2007 at 12:41:04AM -0400, Bill Nottingham wrote:
> Axel Thimm (Axel.Thimm at ATrpms.net) said: 
> > > 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.
> So, my reading of this is 'larger phys/chem institutions are
> crazy and don't understand sane systems management'. Am I reading
> this wrong?

Yes, it's very wrong. Read it as "Real life". If you got enough cash
to pay a large IT staff to do your system deployment *and* evaluation
of system requirements of the given numerical problem to solve, then
you can talk about "system's management".

Even the very big players like Fermi or DESY that do have large IT
staffs to deploy many-year scenarios can only go as far as providing a
RHEL clone with some additional IT infrastructural elements like
openafs, but not really providing all necessary numerical and
scientific libraries (a lot of them are non open source).

And I only mentioned that the Linux part is homogeneous. Ever wondered
why the majority of Unix admins that have skills in managing
heterogeneous Unix system have a physicist's background? It is far
more important to have a good mips/$ and some scientists on salary,
than to spend all budget for the IT staff's system management.

> If you want consistent results, run a consistent platform.

So you outrule Fedora? Because consistent means even more than a
stable API/ABI, RHEL comes close to that, but switching to RHEL
because a distro does not want to offer static libs is not reason
enough, especially in light of development of key components like
gfortran that is reflected in RHEL only a couple years after it makes
it into the non-enterprise platforms.

Loss of static libs and similar issues moves this share of users to
Ubuntu/Gentoo these days. It's not speculation, it's what I see.
Axel.Thimm at ATrpms.net
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