followup regarding desktop specifications

Owen Taylor otaylor at
Fri Aug 6 00:50:24 EEST 2004

On Mon, 2004-08-02 at 16:47, George Kraft wrote:
> >>/ How often does specification team conference call,  how 
> />>/ often does the group meet?
> /
> >There is no team. People make proposals, they are discussed, if they are
> >good they are implemented in the desktop.
> That promotes extreme programming; however, it does not foster the development of a standards specification.
> When does one lock down the descriptions of the APIs and structures?  When can one produce an ABI from a stable 
> library?  When can one write a conformance test suite from the specification, then validate the libraries?
> Think of a standards specification as a legal contract between and software application and shared
> services (ie., libgtk, libglib).  One has to be overly detailed.   For example, how can I get distros
> A and B to reliably provide for my application?  What if distro A patches or updates libfoo which
> breaks my application?  Who is right and who is wrong with respect to the stability of my application?
> [The answer is the distro providing as specified by, not the head of the CVS
> branch. ;-)  This discussion then leads you to library and symbol versioning, and the specification
> defining the least common denominator of the libraries in use.]

We should make sure that we distinguish two separate activities, both
of which require a little more formalism than we currently have
on this list, but in my opinion are distinct.

 - Formalizing the set of specifications currently being developed on

   This is the activity that the "specification release process"
   is supposed to handle. My goal for release process is
   that technical discussion and decision stays on the list here
   and that any "team" is just handling the coordination.

 - Standardization of desktop libraries in the LSB.
   I'd imagine this would be done under the auspices of the current
   LSB process with cooperation of the relevant library maintainers.
   Some of the libraries currently under discussion aren't part
   of (e.g. GTK+), and there is typically clear


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