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Re: [DotGNU]Dotgnu written in C#?

From: Fergus Henderson
Subject: Re: [DotGNU]Dotgnu written in C#?
Date: Mon, 11 Aug 2003 03:07:20 +1000
User-agent: Mutt/1.3.28i

On 09-Aug-2003, DrDiettrich <address@hidden> wrote:
> Rhys Weatherley wrote:
> > Portability is hard, and it isn't just a dependency or tools issue.  It's
> > primarily an API issue - if you can't rely upon the API's being the same,
> > then it is hard to make the code portable.  No matter what scheme is devised
> > to describe the API differences, it will eventually tend towards spaghetti.
> > The set of exceptions to the rules is too great.
> That's why I think that "describing the differences" simply is the wrong
> way to go. Better were "defining an GNU API", which then can be
> implemented on every platform, and which eliminates every platform
> dependencies in the source code.

How should this proposed GNU API differ from POSIX?

Note that defining a GNU API would not solve the problem.
Many programs would still want to make use of additional features
provided by some environments that are not part of the GNU API.
So either the GNU API would have to be extended for every such program (this
approach doesn't scale), or something like autoconf would still be needed.

> Writing platform independent code only requires the existence of a
> platform independent API. GNU failed to both define a GNU platform and
> API, and that's the only reason why GNUish code in fact is not freely
> portable.

I don't agree.  Your analysis is overly simplistic, and ignores the
competitive pressures on applications to make use of non-portable features.

If what you say were true, then the Posix standard and its GNU/Linux
implementation would have solved the problem.  But it didn't, because --
guess what -- most applications wanted to make use of additional features
not provided by Posix.

Fergus Henderson <address@hidden>  |  "I have always known that the pursuit
The University of Melbourne         |  of excellence is a lethal habit"
WWW: <>  |     -- the last words of T. S. Garp.

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