Friday, September 25, 2015

Linux ABI compatibility even reduxer

My previous blog post raised some discussion on Reddit. There were two major issues raised. The first one is that a helloworld application is not much of a test. The other was that because the distro was so new, the test does not validate that backwards compatibility goes back 16 years, but only about 6.

Very well.

I installed Red Hat Linux 6.2, which was originally published in 2000. Then I downloaded the source code of Gimp 1.0, compiled it and embedded its dependencies, basically glib + gtk, into an app bundle. Stable core libraries such as libjpeg, X libraries and glibc were not bundled. I then copied this bundle to a brand new Ubuntu install and ran it.

It worked without a hitch.

What have we learned from this? Basically that it was possible in the year 2000 to create binary only applications for Linux that would work 15 years later on a different distro.

If you follow the exact same steps today, it is presumable that you can create binary apps that will run without any changes in the year 2030.

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