[UFO Chicago] Even In The Future, Nothing Works

Jay F. Shachter jay at m5.chicago.il.us
Tue May 10 16:35:28 PDT 2016


After working on it for more than a week, I finally finished building
LibreOffice  I write for two reasons.  One is to crow that
I succeeded in completing this complex and difficult build.  The other
is to complain that the build was complex and difficult.  We have had
higher-level programming languages now for more than 60 years.  Why is
it still the case that building any nontrivial program never works
right the first time?  Why is software installation a job that
requires skill and intelligence?  Why can't I just build the bloody
thing by typing "build" or words to that effect?  Libreoffice is
actually among the best of them, it automatically downloads some of
the zillions of packages on which it depends -- but not all of them --
when you build it, and then builds them too, but that isn't a solution
you want to use because you end up with nonpublic shared libraries
that, for all practical purposes, cannot be used by anything except
another running instance of Libreoffice.

And even if you chose that solution, and chose the simplest possible
build, and accept all defaults, nothing works right the first time.
For example, in the case of the boost libraries (which Libreoffice
needs), I actually had to change the source code because they kept on
wanting to include quadmath, which in my case I have not got.  And the
newest version of jpeg does not use a prefix of /usr/local when you
configure it without a --prefix= option, instead it puts things
perversely into /opt/libjpeg-turbo without telling you that it has
done so, a directory that ldconfig knows nothing about, so even after
installing it the link editor still can't find it and you get
unresolved external references to a library that you know you just
bloody installed 2 minutes ago.

So I finally have a working (I think, it would take a year to test
everything) Libreoffice on my computer, but I cannot in retrospect
assert that the time I spent building it was worth it.  And I'll be
d....d if I'm ever going to build anything even more complicated, like
chromium.  I don't care if chromium is supposed to be open-source, you
give me a binary or I am not going to use it.

(People who wish to reply are requested to refrain from uttering
condescending remarks to the effect that I should simply install
Libreoffice from my distribution's repositories.  I am running SLES,
which does not provide repositories, unless you pay for them.  And
although the same is true for, e.g., RHEL, RHEL systems can use the
repositories of shadow distributions like CentOS and Scientific Linux
and Springdale; SLES systems cannot, there are no shadow distributions
of SLES, you either have to pay for a repository or build everything
from source, as if you were one of those weenies wasting their lives
on linux bloody fromscratch dot org.)

                        Jay F. Shachter
                        6424 N Whipple St
                        Chicago IL  60645-4111
                                (1-773)7613784   landline
                                (1-410)9964737   GoogleVoice
                                jay at m5.chicago.il.us

                        "Quidquid latine dictum sit, altum videtur"

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