Problems with and incompatibilities with in-house software

Daniel Stone daniel at
Mon Mar 1 02:32:41 PST 2010

Hi Richard,

On Sun, Feb 28, 2010 at 05:48:50PM -0500, Richard Brown wrote:
> To our much dismay we have recently found after attempting to install  
> new Linux boxes that these extensions no longer appear to be available.  
> This has caused most of our internal applications to blow up and to be  
> completely ruined and unusable in the process. Dozens of applications  
> have now blown up and are not able to be used, involving millions of  
> lines of code. Thousands of dollars already invested in upgrade to new  
> Linux systems appears to be completely useless now, as none of our  
> applications can be used on these new systems.

We advertised the deprecations fairly widely, and it was done in a
staggered manner.  No-one complained.

> It is well past time that your organisation make backwards compatibility  
> with core X11 and all extensions to it a primary principle of your  
> organisation. To many have invested too much money into developing  
> software to utilise these extensions than to have them mindlessly  
> removed and thus blowing up dozens of our internal applications.
> We have decided that we will probably move to an entirely Win32 platform  
> instead of investing hundreds of thousands of dollars into an extensive  
> rewriting of our existing X applications, as it seems like, from what we  
> have already seen, it no longer seems as though we can count on this  
> platform to provide the backwards compatibility we need. We have been  
> talking to Microsoft extensively about this issue and they have indeed  
> provided us with huge resources and have iron clad commitments to  
> maintaining compatibility with their older interfaces, so we can rest  
> assured that with them that code we write today will still work years  
> and years from now.

The key here is in what you've said -- you're paying Microsoft to make
these things happen.  If you want to pay a competent UNIX vendor (Red
Hat or Sun, basically), then I'm sure they could help you guys out.

It's pretty hard to do anything when you have to guess as to what
someone who you've never previously interacted with is going to say in
several years' time (when did PEX and XIE disappear -- late 1990s? early
2000s?).  But I'm pleased to announce that old versions of X still work
every bit as well now as they do previously, so if you don't want to
upgrade then no-one's holding a gun to your head.


(PS: Ask Microsoft how you go running 16-bit DOS applications under
     Windows 7.)
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