Free is too expensive (Economist)
Posted Mar 31, 2012 8:51 UTC (Sat) by angdraug
In reply to: Free is too expensive (Economist)
Parent article: Free is too expensive (Economist)
Actually, authors do get it wrong on occasion, and even when they don't, lack of coordination between different interdependent project often makes it unnecessarily hard for the latest versions of their programs to co-exist. Distributions are the only place where this kind of coordination happens.
And no, static compilation is not a solution, people do care how much memory their applications use (observe Mozilla's and LibreOffice's tremendous efforts towards that goal), and they shouldn't have to upgrade all their applications just because a vulnerability was discovered in one of the fundamental libraries.
Yes, the package system is complex. It has to be, because it's solving a complex problem. And yet, it's not that hard to use: there's a lot of good documentation and a lot of tools that automate the packaging, maintainance, building, inspecting your packages for common problems, and even basic integration testing.
A much larger part of the problem is created by the increased rate of change and a growing disregard for backwards compatibility in projects that are essential to Linux desktop and development experiences. That's what jcm is talking about in the first comment in this thread: many projects haven't yet realized that becoming part of our platform carries a certain responsibility to the users, and changes the balance between the benefits of rapid development and backwards compatibility.
to post comments)