Subject: Re: patch to allow /etc/ configure directories for ELF
To: Frank van der Linden <>
From: Ask Dr. Stupid <>
List: tech-userlevel
Date: 03/12/1999 10:08:07
I'm missing something on this "linking properly" bit, and nobody's quite
incrementing (*greywolf)->clue.  Or I'm being dense (which is likely, given
that when I'm sick I don't think very well).

That notwithstanding, here's my current setup:


There is no /usr/pkg.

If I want to export compiled binaries to a system which has neither
directory present at run-time, I lose on that system.  The ELF paradigm
forces me to use paths which I consider to be unnecessary (/usr/pkg),
unwieldy or misnamed (/usr/X11R6 or /usr/X11R6.3 -- who's carrying around
X11R5 or R4 or even R3 anymore?  It's a relic.  If we're going to get rid
of relics and "do it right", we could at least start with some of the
third-party namespace).

Similarly, if I IMPORT pre-compiled packages, it becomes necessary for me
to either consider or have present /usr/pkg and/or /usr/X11R6.

In short, this removes the flexibility of namespace layout by forcing
a specific layout.  And yes, I realise that I have just contradicted my
own argument just before the previous paragraph.

But it still begs the question of why lock it down so tight?  If we're
going to do that, we need a chatr(1-hp) kind of thing so that we can at
least make things portable.  If we're going to do an ELF toolkit, blast
it, let's do it completely and correctly, and not get it to a half-baked
point and figure, "aw, that's good enough for now".  Sorry if I offend,
but flexibility is a key issue for those of us who do sysadmin and think
it should be laid out differently.

I *still* question the wisdoms of the other ELF-based platforms (which are,
uncoincintentionally, system V-based).

Now that I've laid it out there, could some (*kind*) soul please make it
apparent to me exactly what, exactly, ELF buys us?  Is it performance?

And what is meant by "linking properly"?

Oh, one thing that's escaping me (density alert):  Is the RPATH a directory
or set thereof, or do all the libraries direct paths get hardcoded in?

[I'm going to hate myself in the morning...]

System V was a mistake.