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Date: Thu, 25 Apr 2013 12:51:50 -0400
From: Zvi Gilboa <>
To: <>
Subject: Re: High-priority library replacements?

On 04/25/2013 08:51 AM, Rich Felker wrote:
> On Thu, Apr 25, 2013 at 07:44:39AM -0400, LM wrote:
>> incompatible licenses.  The openssl library can't be used with a GNU
>> program unless there's a waiver for it because one of the clauses in the
>> openssl license goes against the GNU license principles.  The gnutls
> Not _used_ but _distributed_. The GPL does not restrict use
> whatsoever (and takes the position that it legally can't do so) so
> it's fine to use OpenSSL with GPL programs as long as you don't
> distribute the resulting binary. This is of course a problem for
> package maintainers/distributions, and distributing both openssl and
> the GNU program and a script to link them together might even be seen
> as an infringing activity.

What about explicitly loading the library at run-time using uselib(2) in 
a plug-in like fashion?  Is that also considered problematic from a GNU 

>> pkg-config has a nice replacement in pkgconf.  (If a list is
>> created, might be helpful to list possible replacements already out
>> there.)  Would like to see some of the pieces that are essential parts of
>> the GNU build system/autotools replaced with some more efficient
>> [...]
>> of unnecessary work to port applications.  Would rather see the current
>> build systems already used (autotools, cmake, etc.) streamlined or see drop
>> in replacements that are better designed.
> I seem to recall an effort somewhere to do exactly this, but I can't
> remember where I saw it..

Here too, one option would be to have all of a library's options, 
dependencies, and build steps represented in a /real/ database (my 
preference would be PostgreSql), and then have the actual build 
script(s) generated using command-line utilities.  This is something 
that I have been doing in a rather miniature scale in a few 
research-related projects, and found to be both effective and 
expandable.  Arguably, for all projects beyond a certain degree of 
complexity, using a database to manage the build is the most feasible 
path to follow (no need to name projects that demonstrate what happens 
if you don't...), yet switching an existing build system to one that is 
database-driven could become quite a challenge.

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