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real world?

real world?

Posted Aug 8, 2010 20:50 UTC (Sun) by mingo (subscriber, #31122)
In reply to: real world? by nix
Parent article: Realtime Linux: academia v. reality

xorg is pretty easy to upgrade and downgrade actually because its shared library versioning is so strictly maintained. If you downgrade a really long way you might get burnt by the Xi1 -> Xi2 transition or the loss of the Render extension, but that's about all.

I guess we are getting wildy off-topic, but my own personal experience is very different: on my main desktop i run bleeding edge everything (kernel, Xorg, glibc, etc.) and just this year i've been through 3 difficult Xorg breakages which required the identification of some prior version of Xorg and libdrm packages and the unrolling of other dependencies.

One of them was a 'black screen on login' kind of breakage. Xorg breakages typically take several hours to resolve because pre-breakage packages have to be identified, downloaded and the dependency chain figured out - all manually.

Current Linux distributions are utterly incapable of doing a clean 'go back in time on breakage, and do it automatically, and allow it even on a system which was rendered unusable by the faulty package'. This is a big bleeding-edge-testers handicap for any multi-package infrastructure component such as Xorg.

OTOH single-package, multiple-installed-versions packages (such as the kernel) are painless: i don't remember when i last had a kernel breakage that prevented me from using my desktop - if then it took me no more than 5 minutes to resolve via: 'reboot, select previous kernel, there you go'.

glibc is _mostly_ painless for me, because breakages are rare - it's a very well-tested project. But if glibc breaks it's horrible to resolve due to not having multiple versions installed: everything needs glibc. My last such experience was last year, and it required several hours of rescue image surgery on the box to prevent a full reinstall - and all totally outside the regular package management system.

Plain users or even bleeding edge developers generally don't have the experience or time to resolve such problems, and as a result we have very very few bleeding edge testers for most big infrastructure packages but the kernel.



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real world?

Posted Aug 8, 2010 21:35 UTC (Sun) by nix (subscriber, #2304) [Link]

Oh, gods, yes, the libdrm/Mesa/driver-version combination nightmare is a tricky one I'd forgotten about. Of course that itself is sort of kernel-connected, because the only reason most of that stuff is revving so fast is because of changes on the kernel side :)

The go-back-in-time stuff is probably best supported by the Nix distro (no relation); the downside of that is that it requires an insane amount of recompilation whenever anything changes because it has no understanding of ABI-preservation conventions (assuming that all library users need to be rebuilt whenever a library is).

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