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about RHL8 including glibc-2.2.93

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[ If you must, assume this mail was sent out not by a Red Hat employee
but instead the official maintainer. ]

It has been brought to my attention that once again a bunch of clueless
people think they have the right and good reason to bash Red Hat for
using glibc 2.2.93 + patches in the Red Hat Linux 8 release.

Red Hat included this version of the library on my advise.  My advise as
a Red Hat employee and with my blessing as the official maintainer of
the package.  This separation of positions actually exists: I am not the
maintainer of glibc for Red Hat.  The work I do is paid by Red Hat but
not controlled by them (asm our sales people and various managers who
would love for this not to be true).

It was possible to make the decision to use the 2.2.93 code because at
the time the distribution was finalized glibc 2.3 for x86 was already
finished.  In fact, the engineering work for almost all parts of the
library were finished.

The fact that this happened in time is no coincident.  Red Hat has
invested over the last 3-4 months considerable resources to the glibc
development.  We had 3 people working fulltime on glibc and the related
projects for this timeframe.  As everybody can ensure her/himself by
looking at the ChangeLog the vast majority of work in this critical
phase of the development of 2.3 was done by these 3 people.

And what is more: in the process of preparing the RHL8 release all the
resources available for testing the distribution (our QA people and beta
testers) also helped to debug the new glibc release.  This is at least
as critical as the development itself.  The participation in the
pre-release testing for glibc has always been extremely weak.  We get
usually replies and reports from half a dozen people.  Almost nobody is
installing the newly compiled glibc on a system s/he is using all day,
every day.  But this would be the only way to find the real problems.
If you would look back at the release of glibc 2.2 you'd see that right
after the release a lot more bugs were reported than during the entire
test cycle.  People are simply not willing to install a test release on
the system they depend on.  And for most people this is correct, the
glibc documentation even warns about this.

But this should make it obvious how completely invalid the complaints
and accusations are.  Without the testing already performed by Red Hat
and the users we would be many months behind the current state in terms
of stability and without Red Hat's willingness to invest in the
development we would probably not have seen glibc 2.3 being released for
 another 6 to 9 months.


- - every organization has the possibility to speed up the development of
any project by assigning enough developers to the project.
Unfortunately this does not generally happen, at least not for glibc.
In fact, looking at the ChangeLog it is easy to see that most
distributions (with the notable exception of SuSE, Debian, and obviously
Red Hat) do *nothing* at all to improve glibc (at least official version
used by everybody);

- - the use of the 2.2.93 sources + some patches in RHL8 was done as
advised by the maintainer; this was one of the requirements formulated
after similar complaints were made in the past.  The fact that I am also
a Red Hat employee is irrelevant.  I do not think that anybody has any
evidence for a claim that I make decisions which favor solely or even
mostly Red Hat;

- - the use of 2.2.93 was completely save.  The engineering work was
already finished.  Any incompatibility would in any case have to be
dealt with since glibc still intends to be binary compatible with glibc 2.0;

- - without the efforts of Red Hat glibc wouldn't be where it is today.
And all these improvements benefit every user of Linux despite the fact
that the costs are mostly carried by Red Hat;

- - the RHL8 release does not use glibc 2.3 to differentiate RHL from
other distributions and make interoperability difficult or impossible.
glibc 2.3 was used since all development in the last year or so went
into the glibc 2.3 source base; the glibc 2.2 branch only received
critical bug fixes.  glibc 2.3 is better overall, fewer bugs, faster,
and more standard compliance (POSIX as well as LSB).  Especially this
last point (LSB compliance) completely destroys the line of
argumentation used.

If somebody still choses to be paranoid and see something bad and
sinister in everything Red Hat does, answer the simple question: what
else should be done?  I can say that development of glibc happens as
transparent as possible since I managed to enforce that we do not keep a
separate internal CVS archive.

If somebody choses not to believe a word I say because I'm part of the
conspiracy this is her/his right.  But it is also my right to ignore
such a person and I hope that with these explanations I can get a few
more people to realize that ignoring these ultra-paranoid or plainly
stupid people is the right thing to do.

- -- 
- --------------.                        ,-.            444 Castro Street
Ulrich Drepper \    ,-----------------'   \ Mountain View, CA 94041 USA
Red Hat         `--' drepper at `---------------------------
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