[nycbug-talk] "every bit as good as Linux"

Sunny Dubey sunny-ml
Tue Sep 21 09:18:34 EDT 2004

On Tuesday 21 September 2004 02:53, Isaac Levy wrote:
> Hi all,
> Can someone say POSIX?  Or um, Berkeley Software Distribution?

I think its important to realize that POSIX and the LSB exist to compliment 
each other.  After all, the Open Group is behind both POSIX/SUS and LSB, heh

POSIX conformance demands some really nitty gritty low level stuff that just 
about any OS can conform too (I think Windows NT4 was POSIX).  When reading 
LSB, you'll realize it aims for something higher.

POSIX doesn't say anything about placement of files, and logical filesystem 
structure.  LSB does.  LSB demands FSH.  And FSH states things like:

1 - no binaries in /etc
2 - /usr/local must never be touched by the package management system
3 - /opt must exist
4 - etc etc etc

You'll notice that the LSB is somewhat way-ward itself.  IE: it demands that 
libX11 be called, libX11.so.6.  But it doesn't specify where that library 
should be. (other than the FSH stating that it should be some sort of /lib/ 
directory)  Why? because the linux ldconfig stuff is supposed to take care of 

> It seems to me, ironically, that this 'Linux Base Standard' feels a lot
> like what BSD was before it was a full-blown OS... folks, this has all
> happened before.

And if you read the LSB, they clearly credit the Regents of Cali first before 
anyone else.  Its not like they're trying to hide something about the roots 
of many of their ideas.


> Everything just compiles, and works together as it should-
> because of the ANCIENT adherence to POSIX guidelines, (yes, even when
> it hurts sometimes).

I think POSIX is largely technical and doesn't really deal with many of the 
conventions UNIX has come to adopt over the years.

when you run GNU autoconf, you'll notice that the /usr/local* material is 
looked at first before the system standard of / or /usr.  But why?  Last I 
checked POSIX doesn't talk about path precedence ideologies.  But in the 
world of BSD, and Linux we've come accustomed to such, and this sort of 
computing logic has become ingrained into our heads.

(POSIX demands "tput clear" instead of just regular "clear".  When was the 
last time you saw anyone use the former of the latter ?)

I think POSIX gets a lot more credit than it deserves at times.  Especially 
UNIX design wise.


> Most of the rest of that time on Linux is tracking down a missing
> library in userland for a given distro, installing things which are
> common to one Linux- and not another, 

there is nothing intrinsically specific to linux about this.  If I don't know 
the package management system of my OS, then I'm doomed to ignorantly hate 
it.  If I don't know the ports tree, then clearly I'm going to have a problem 
figuring out how to deal with things.  If someone put me on an IRIX machine 
and told me to upgrade the C library, I'd probably walk out the door 
instantly.  (pete OTOH may love such a challenge, heh)

> and the joys of de-activating or 
> de-installing daemons, which are often hacked beyond sane
> configurability, conflicting with something I'm needing to install.
> All of this, with some of the most poorly maintained and most
> inconsistent man pages in the UNIX world.

thats FUD too.

> All of that is a waste of time I could spend making interesting or
> useful things, while eating away at my client's ROI.  In english, my
> client pays more and gets less- and I'm bored off my rocker with the
> tedium.
> I'm not trying to outwardly slam Linux here, as there are some really
> amazing ideas and code in there, but portability definitely isn't one
> of it's strong points.

much of it applies to BSDs as well.  We all run the same libraries, the same 
apps, the same everything.  And as stated before, many of our conventions 
have nothing to do with written standardization.  (IE: we all use GNU tar 
over POSIX's ustar, or even their PAX)

Sunny Dubey

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