Installing a compiler by default

Adam Conrad adconrad at
Fri Jun 9 05:15:14 BST 2006

Corey Burger wrote:
> 1. Person compiling something to get them on the internet
> Ignore the fact that I have not seen a solid case where you can get
> the source without being on net already, nor a solid case where this
> is even necessary (I am sure there are, I just haven't looked at
> deeply), how many users are actually technically adept enough to do
> this?

After sleeping on this, this is the one that jumped out at me too.
We're assuming that you need a compiler to compile a driver to get you
on the internet.  This can be broken into two subclasses:

1) If we shipped the driver sources on the CD ourselves, then the
failing is OURS for not pre-compiling it for you (and we should do so).

2) If we didn't ship the driver sources, then how the heck are you
getting them without having the previously-mentioned access to the internet?

We're stuck with a chicken-and-egg issue here that isn't solved by
making sure I have "gcc" and "make" in my path (or even on the CD, for
that matter, as we already do).

I'm not sure what problem we're trying to solve with this proposal
except for "old skool UNIX hacks expect to have a compiler on their
system", which is a pretty poor reason to do anything in a shiny new
distribution that isn't really targetter at old skool hacks out of the box.

We provide all the tools that old skool hacks want, but they may have to
use their immense old skool brainpower to figure out how to install
something.  This isn't a big deal to me.

If LaTeX suddenly stopped being generally useful on modern UNIX
desktops, would we keep shipping our implementation in the desktop set
only because "old UNIX users expect it to be there"?

Improving the end-user documentation to hint people in the right
direction when A) they need a compiler, and B) they have no a clue what
a compiler is would certainly be helpful, but I'm not sure that
pre-installing the packages is all that helpful to them.

... Adam

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