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Applications and bundled libraries

Mar 25, 2010, 21:03 (3 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Jake Edge)

"Package installation for Linux distributions has traditionally separated libraries and application binaries into different packages, so that only one version of a library would be installed and it would be shared by applications that use it. Other operating systems (e.g. Windows, MacOS X) often bundle a particular version of a library with each application, which can lead to many copies and versions of the same library co-existing on the system. While each model has its advocates, the Linux method is seen by many as superior because a security fix in a particular commonly-used library doesn't require updating multiple different applications—not to mention the space savings. But, it would seem that both Mozilla and Google may be causing distributions to switch to library-bundling mode in order to support the Firefox and Chromium web browsers.

"One of the problems that distributions have run into when packaging Chromium—the free software version of Google's Chrome browser—is that it includes code for multiple, forked libraries. As Fedora engineering manager Tom "spot" Callaway put it: "Google is forking existing FOSS code bits for Chromium like a rabbit makes babies: frequently, and usually, without much thought." For distributions like Fedora, with a "No Bundled Libraries" policy, that makes it very difficult to include Chromium. But it's not just Chromium."

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