Standing on the Shoulders of Giants

Posted on Dec 12, 2003

After spending some days persuading the VOCAL toolkit to build on Solaris (and it's not working properly yet) I was wondering about standing on the shoulders of giants.

If I had wanted to do something with VOCAL on Linux, it seems likely that it would have built and installed in an afternoon. I could then have spent the remaining time doing something useful with VOCAL rather than just building it. Admittedly, I can now submit my patches back to the open source project and other people will have an easier time on Solaris from now on.

In many respects, this "everything just works" aspect of Linux, even though not entirely true, may in conclusion be more important than the availability of source code. But then, the availability of source code is one of the things that allows "everything" to "just work".

Maybe I'm just grumpy after spending time with the Forte C++ compiler and a huge chunk for unfamiliar code...

Update: My optimism was poorly founded. Building VOCAL on a SuSE derived system produced a set of binaries that die immediately on startup. Oh well.