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Re: Preparing for the libc/locale upgrade

From: Federico Beffa
Subject: Re: Preparing for the libc/locale upgrade
Date: Wed, 30 Sep 2015 14:35:56 +0200

On Mon, Sep 28, 2015 at 10:45 PM, Ludovic Courtès <address@hidden> wrote:
> Federico Beffa <address@hidden> skribis:
>> address@hidden (Ludovic Courtès) writes:
>> [...]
>>> Consequences for Guix on foreign distros:
>>>   • If the host distro provides binaries that use libc < 2.22 and you
>>>     use a mixture of Guix-provided and distro-provided programs, this is
>>>     pretty bad.
>>>     Solution: unset LOCPATH and say goodbye to locales for Guix-provided
>>>     packages (setting LOCPATH=$HOME/.guix-profile/lib/locale would break
>>>     all the distro-provided programs), or use exclusively Guix-provided
>>>     programs, or use the “C” locale.
>> Does this means that Guix on other distributions is no longer of
>> interest to the Guix project and it is essentially unsupported?
> No, definitely not!

Thats good to hear!

> While suboptimal, the 3 solutions above are probably OK as a temporary
> measure.

>From my point of view Mark's suggestion sounds as the most acceptable
(although I've not tested it as I've not updated my Guix yet).

> For the longer term, I hope we can help improve libc:
> (I’d like to apply this patch in Guix in the next ‘core-updates’ cycle
> anyway to mitigate the problem.)
>> Or is this a transitory situation and an acceptable solution is being
>> worked on?
> This is transitory because sooner or later your host distro will upgrade
> to libc 2.22 as well.

Sure, but popular distributions like Debian are likely to upgrade in a
few of years! So, without action the problem is not going away any
time soon.

> IMO Guix is not at fault; rather, it sheds light on a shortcoming of
> libc’s handling of locale data, which was designed with single-libc
> systems in mind.

I fully agree with your statement. However, leaving Guix users (I'm
not talking about developers) exposed to such problems is not what I
expect from a high quality product. A brute force fix may be to tell
each Guix program where the locale is with a wrapper. This is for sure
not elegant (and there may be better ways, you know better...), but
the point is that probably a way to preserve a good end user
experience out of the box does exist and, from my point of view, we
should provide it. The first experience is very important to retain
users. If it's bad most people just walk away.


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