April 24, 2019

.comment: British Beer, American Politics, and glibc-2.2 - page 4

Yes, there is a connection

  • November 21, 2000
  • By Dennis E. Powell

Despite my best efforts, I didn't manage through all of this to break my machine. It worked all the time. Indeed, the fact that I sort of stumbled through this and still emerged victorious speaks well of the robust nature of Linux and its subsidiaries. But I still have questions.

The purpose of all of this, buried deep down somewhere, was to optimize for my K6-2 processor. Does any optimization take place? I've seen a Makefile or configure.in someplace that throws the k6 flag to i586-pc-linux-gnu. Yet it took about 60 percent longer to build -march=k6 than it does to build -mpentium. There's no user space test suite for Linux that produces useful comparisons, at least none I've ever heard about. It would be good to have one now. I'd like to learn that I've improved things by all of this. Maybe I don't really want to know, though.

Of more importance is libdb.so.X. When I rebooted, sendmail threw an error--no, actually, a refusal--over the absence of libdb.so.2. Later, when for some obscure reason, I tried to start emacs--which I don't like and don't use--it blew up for lack of libdb.so.3. The glibc-2.2 FAQ says that the Berkeley database libraries are no longer part of glibc; but building the new version of the Berkeley database, even with --enable-shared, doesn't produce either of the missing shared libraries. A mystery.

As to whether this sort of fun is going to get lost as Linux moves more and more into the mainstream, my guess is that about two thirds of the current Linux user base will understand none of the above. To them I say (again): A little learning will let you hack your system and let you make all kinds of interesting and useful interim upgrades between whole new versions of distributions. There's nothing in Linux that isn't in plain text at one place or another, and even if you're not a programmer, you can develop instincts that will eventually serve you in very good stead. (The remaining third of Linux users will have found one or more places above to say, "What an idiot!")

Even with all of this, I emerge the other side and still there is no new president, and the red zone is still preparing for economic war against the blue zone (the former being the vast expanse of productive nation, the latter being the chiefly consuming profit and population centers). Back to the floating widgets, I guess. Or maybe it's time to build Mozilla and StarOffice 6.

But there's hope. Winter approaches. Reptiles hibernate.

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