Thoughts and a possible plan

Mike Hearn mike at
Thu Mar 11 18:05:41 EET 2004

On Thu, 2004-03-11 at 13:56, Havoc Pennington wrote:
> Hi,
> I don't think this is what we want; the idea of the
> platform (at least as I had it) is NOT to provide an ABI for ISVs. In
> fact that's the LSB's domain.

Yeah, perhaps, but the LSB is not meeting the need here. They've
specified a few very low level libs, but not enough to build useful
desktop applications. This isn't going to change anytime soon - they are
working under far more stringent criteria than is useful for the free
software community and that makes progress extremely slow.

> What I want is the common foundation or base for GNOME, KDE,,
> Mozilla, WINE, Java/Swing - i.e. here is what the full platforms are
> built on top of. 

That's a useful thing to have if the goal is to facilitate sharing
specific pieces of code between pre-existing platforms, but that's
somewhat orthogonal to what I'm striving for which is an ability to
express "I want a block of desktop functionality" in a single
dependency, instead of 12. 

If they are really different things entirely it might be worth adopting
different terminology, ie calling a unified set of dependencies a base
rather than a platform (or vice versa).

Obviously you can already get several such platforms (kde, gnome,
mozilla, java, mono) but for various reasons these platforms usually
aren't just collections of useful/proven libraries but enforce
particular code styles, implementation languages etc. I think something
more liberal would be handy to have around.

> Obviously it's a goal to factor out and share more code
> between the full platforms, but the platform is not
> expected to be a full platform anytime soon. In particular I don't
> expect it to touch the toolkit issue in any foreseeable future - rather
> the goal is a shared backend for the toolkits.

Well, I'm not keen on touching any toolkit issues either, which is why I
said both GTK and Qt should probably be included in such a platform (in
the short-medium term). I'm not interested in refactoring parts of
existing platforms (though it sounds good), I'd just like to see
projects start releasing in a unified way so we can get more reliable
software installations.

Pretty clearly people have differing ideas of what a shared platform is.

Some think of it as a collection of useful stuff hosted at, others as an ISV ABI, and still others as
platform-below-the-platforms. It'd be useful to find out which people
are most interested in and get exact definitions for what they are.

thanks -mike

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