Subject: Re: 3 Lisps, 3 Ways of Specifying OS
From: Erik Naggum <>
Date: Tue, 16 Oct 2001 21:00:06 GMT
Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp
Message-ID: <>

* Pratibha
| Are any of these implementations expected to support the current RedHat
| version or SuSE version (7.2 in both cases, I believe) anytime soon?

  If you want a stable system, choose Debian: even their "unstable" version
  is more stable than RedHat.  If you want to "conform" to a distribution,
  at the very least do not choose RedHat -- they have done so many insanely
  weird things to Linux kernels and libraries and versions of compilers and
  everything you would have to have a nightmare to dream about that it is a
  wonder something that works with RedHat works with anything else.  That
  many vendors "standardize" on them is very unfortunate, since it means
  that their random brokenness defines the playing ground for everyone else,
  just like that other supplier of random brokenness and version hysteria.

| I am somewhat surprised that none of these implementations officially
| support even any version of SuSE, as I thought Lisp and SuSE were both
| "big" (relatively speaking) in Europe.

  If you choose to officially support RedHat, you have few resources left
  to support any other distribution.  Most of the acidic comments you find
  from vendors who debunk Linux as a mass of randomness and pain come from
  having had to deal with RedHat's utter lack of respect for stability and
  quality in the versions of things they ship.  Of course, if you start off
  with RedHat, all other distributions _are_ different, giving a falsely
  negative impression.  If you just ignore RedHat, the Linux world is so
  much less random and unpredictable.

  It was not always like that.  The kernels used to be unpredictable, too,
  and the track record for backward compatibility for glibc was quite bad,
  but in the past couple years, these things have stabilized remarkably.
  If it were not for RedHat, vendors _would_ be able to list the version of
  the kernel and the prerequisite libraries and that would work just fine.

  It is therefore a disservice to the Linux community to list RedHat as the
  reference supported implementation and leave it at that.  A much better
  approach would be to list the distribution, kernel, library version
  combinations that the vendor has focused on and to include those that
  have been tested and found working by the users.  After all, the vendors
  are giving away software and it should help everyone to let users report
  back that it works well on their distribution, kernel, library version
  combinations, such as by running a test suite.  This could help build a
  community of users on Linux systems, too, and if there are problems, the
  cost of finding and fixing their causes would not be left to the vendor.

  The United Nations before and after the leadership of Kofi Annan are two
  very different organizations.  The "before" United Nations did not deserve
  much credit and certainly not a Nobel peace prize.  The "after" United
  Nations equally certainly does.  I applaud the Nobel committee's choice.