Firefox 2 on Dapper

D. Michael McIntyre michael.mcintyre at
Wed Jan 17 02:11:19 GMT 2007

On Tuesday 16 January 2007 12:42 pm, Donn wrote:
> So, the reason that new stuff does not run easily is because what? It's too
> hard to do? It's too much work?

I think the best way to understand why things are the way they are is to try 
to build the latest and greatest version of some application from source one 

You get the source, unpack it, configure it, and it fails on some dependency.  
So you have to go get the source for that dependency.  That dependency fails 
to configure because it requires three other dependencies, and two out of 
those three dependencies each depend in turn on two more dependencies.

At least one of these is going to break binary compatibility with 2/3 of the 
packages on your system, because some funky library is built in a way that 
doesn't allow concurrent installations of version X and version Y of the lib, 
so to install the next version of some dependency five layers down, you've 
got to rebuild 700 tarballs to keep everything working.

That's what they call dependency hell, and for better or worse, it's a 
cornerstone of how this type of software works.  This is what distros are all 
about.  Dealing with all of this stuff for yourself is a real bitch.

My approach is that I will try to build the newest version of something I 
desperately want from source, but if I start running into more than about two 
dependencies I have to update from source, or especially if I run into some 
library so new that it doesn't even have a proper build system yet, I pull 
the plug on the whole misbegotten project at that point.  It's usually doomed 
to fail.

I have no idea how any of this relates to the new version of Firefox.  It's 
definitely not anything I can't wait for Feisty to see.
D. Michael McIntyre 

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