[CentOS] two cents or not two cents

Fri Dec 17 17:25:07 UTC 2010
Les Mikesell <lesmikesell at gmail.com>

On 12/17/10 10:54 AM, Lamar Owen wrote:
> On Friday, December 17, 2010 10:55:58 am Les Mikesell wrote:
>> On 12/17/10 8:18 AM, Peter Kjellström wrote:
>>> Longevity (things continue to work without breakage for a long time):
>>>    This kind of implies "don't keep stuff continously updated to recent
>>> versions" don't you think?
>> It could work that way if the upstream developers of the thousands of included
>> projects understood the need for backwards compatibility to keep things working.
>>    They don't.
> In some cases the breakage is intentional.  In others, components become unmaintained, or worse.  Case in point: way back in KDE 1.x or 2.x days I made up some documents in KWord that included some embedded diagrams using a component included in that old KDE but not in newer KDE.  Result?  While KWord opens the files ok, there are no longer any embedded diagrams.
> So I actually keep a really old Linux dist (Mandrake 5.3, or maybe Red Hat 6.2; can't remember at the moment, been too long) around just in case I need to open one of those files; none of the export choices in KWord of that day include the ability to export the diagrams, and I just haven't had time to convert the diagrams (it's been a long time since I needed one of those anyway, long enough that I forget the name of the component....argh....).

To overgeneralize, that's one of the big differences between free and commercial 
software.  Commercial software that has a customer base that they can't afford 
to lose will rarely break backwards compatibility, or if they do, they'll 
provide conversion tools to manage the migration.  But free software developers 
have nothing to lose from wild and crazy changes that apparently are what they 
like to do.  That's what makes 'enterprise' distributions so important because 
they help manage the changes.  Linux would be much less popular (if you can call 
it's tiny share that) without them, especially after the kernel dropped the 
convention of putting its experimental changes on an odd-numbered branch.

   Les Mikesell
     lesmikesell at gmail.com