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Re: backward compatability of tools

From: Dr. David Kirkby
Subject: Re: backward compatability of tools
Date: Mon, 17 Feb 2003 01:26:23 +0000

Russ Allbery wrote:
> David Kirkby <address@hidden> writes:
> > Recently I was looking to put another operating system on a Sun for
> > testing and someone suggested using SunOs 4.1.4, since it is still used
> > a fair amount.
> I think you've been somewhat misinformed there.  Even in the incredibly
> Sun-heavy and very slow-moving academic environment here at Stanford, we
> retired our last SunOS system over a year ago.  

I admit it the same at the academic institution I work at. 

> I recommend putting NetBSD on the system instead; that should be much more
> up-to-date in terms of operating system and C library functionality and
> much easier to deal with.

I have in general found bugs are often noted on one platform or
operating system that are not on another. Hence while I develop
programs on my main computer (quad processor Sun Ultra 80 with 4 Gb of
RAM), I tend to check them on other hardware too. I have 3
SPARCstation 20's here - one running NetBSD 1.6, the other running
Debian 3.0 Linux and the final one running SunOs 4.1.4. I also have a
Redhat 7.3 Linux running on a PC. I think I will persist with the
SunOs machine, but will build a later compiler (gcc 2.6 or so). If
SunOs really does become too much of a pain, I'll put OpenBSD on the
machine, or some other operating system that is as different from
Solaris 9/Linux/OpenBSD that I can find. 

I recently had someone report a compiler warning from some code of
mine using gcc 2.8.x, which gcc 3.2 never found. The code was in fact
wrong, so the earlier version of the compiler had found a possible
bug, which the later one had not spotted even with the -Wall option. 

Incedently, neither the current releases (as opposed to CVS trees) of
either OpenBSD or Debian Linux support multiple processors on SPARC.
Apparently Sun 4.1.4 does on hypersparc processors and while it works
on SuperSPARC CPUs, there are some problems on the latter CPUs.

Dr. David Kirkby,
Senior Research Fellow,
Department of Medical Physics,
University College London,
11-20 Capper St, London, WC1E 6JA.
Tel: 020 7679 6408 Fax: 020 7679 6269
Internal telephone: ext 46408
e-mail address@hidden

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