Getting the Message Out

From a Fluendo employee:

Are we evil that we don’t take more hours out of our day to build on glibc 2.3 ? You bet, we are cold heartless bastards. But in reality 90% of the people on glibc 2.3 are users that have an upgrade path to a more recent version of their distro; the other people are future Debian Etch users. I’m sure the Etch releasers have convinced themselves of the usefulness of not releasing with a glibc 2.4 that is more than 15 months old, and instead opt for an even older series, even before they actually release. But I am starting to wonder more and more who the people are that are waiting for a release like this.
Realistically speaking, it is possible that we may add glibc 2.3 plugins in the future if we see that more than just Debian is affected. We are not against taking your money for giving you a service that works. But the hours in our day are just as scarce as they are in yours. I just wanted to explain this to people that want to know, to take away your incentive to complain about a nameless faceless Company being Evil to you.

Elsewhere, we learn why Debian is so “backward”. In sum: upgrades from the current stable would break with 2.4, and not all Debian architectures are supported well by 2.4.

I suspect the market for Linux multimedia plugins isn’t a huge one, and Debian is still popular both for end users and as the basis for other efforts. Given that, doesn’t it make sense not to artificially exclude a whole chunk of your potential market?

Of course, I think I know of someone who could help here…

5 thoughts on “Getting the Message Out

  1. Sadly, I think most people who were using Debian on their workstation have switched to Ubuntu, which is not affected by the problem except in Dapper.

    And we have also seen the start of a similar shift in the meta distribution market ( linspire, gnoppix, etc ).

    There is however big deployement like Munich, and it would be interesting to see how they managed the situation with mp3 ( given the fact mp3 patents seems to be valid under german law )

  2. For a fee of £5 Sterling I would be willing to produce for you a Venn Diagram, in the open digital format of your choice, of the intersection of the set of all humans who run or are planning to run Debian’s stable suite, and the set of all humans who are willing to publicly state that they would like Fluendo to sell them a limited-use license for their proprietary binary Windows Media plugins.

    – Chris

  3. Chris, why do I get the impression that said Venn diagram would be of the empty set? 🙂

    At any rate, I would certainly be interested, and I tend to run stable until close to the next Debian release, and I have reason to believe that I’m not the only one.

    I suppose I’d have more sympathy for Fluendo if there were some deficiency in glibc 2.3 they could point to. But since 2.3-built stuff works with 2.4 just fine, why exclude people?

  4. Well, I think it was made pretty clear. The cost-benefit ratio simply isn’t worth it, when a supermajority of those users it would potentially benefit wouldn’t be interested in compromising their freedom or their practical considerations in order to actually pay for it. These are not free software plugins, so such pragmatisms as the hourly rates of Fluendo’s build engineers become very important.

    Anyway, Fluendo only support a small subset (two?) of Debian’s archs. People would be “excluded” anyway.

    – Chris

  5. Like I said in the original blog, Fluendo should talk with Autopackage guys (that no, aren’t only some mad guys that want Linux to be like Windows).
    But looking to the only free (as free beer) plug-in, the MP3 one, I see some interesting things:
    – There is a single dependency against GLIBC_2.4: __stack_chk_fail. This dependency is because the “-fstack-protector”, easily removable.
    – If you remove it, the plug-in will work with GLIBC_2.1.3.

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