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What the world really needs [was Detecting RedHat...]

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Tom Horsley
October 27, 1999 05:41
What the world really needs [was Detecting RedHat...]
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All this configure nightmare and standardization war stuff has led me to a
new revelation - what the world really needs isn't a totally standard Posix,
or Linux, or anything else - what the world needs is a standard way to
unambiguously *describe* the uniqueness of all the different systems!
(Maybe a job for XML?).

It even sounds like something that a standards committee might be able to
do, because there wouldn't be any reason to fight over which feature to
standardize, the only job would be cataloging all the features there are and
standardizing how to describe them in a machine readable fashion. The only
argument might be the name to give the standard command everyone would need
to support on their computers that folks could run to gain access to the
database the exact same way on every system. (Microsoft would, of course,
change the name of the command :-).

And think of all the employment opportunities: Manufacturers would
need consultants to help make sure their systems are described. You'd
need test suites to verify the system really works the way its description
file claims it does. The standards group could cash in by charging fees
for certification that systems are described correctly. Heck, this could
easily turn into an even more profitable boondoggle than ISO 9000 :-).
(Particularly if you got the gummint into it with a mandate that all
software systems developed for gummint computers must use this config
database to maximize portability).

But if it ever worked, it would be just billions and billions of times
better than inadequate artificial intelligent scripts trying to deduce the
answers.  The answers would already be on the system, produced by the humans
who built the thing and actually know what the answers are.

Come to think of it, this was almost what Imake was supposed to be (but its
main problem was brain sucking negative information content - the more you
looked at it, the less you understood it :-).

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