Coda File System

Re: libdb

From: Stephen J. Turnbull <>
Date: Thu, 03 Apr 2003 10:46:31 +0900
>>>>> "Greg" == Greg Troxel <> writes:

    Greg> It happens to be installed on my system and is required by
    Greg> sawfish/librep.

"Sawfish: all the bloat of Emacs with none of the editor
functionality."  (Also my WM of choice. :-)

    Greg> So while a rwcdb implementation is nice, using native db,
    Greg> gdbm, or db3 would have the advantage of not having more
    Greg> code to maintain

Er, now that rings a bell.  Is everybody aware that much djb code
suffers from legal problems that potentially make it unmaintainable by
law?  And it is not legal to distribute modified versions (usually,
although it is legal to distribute verbatim copies with patches) or
(in some cases) modify the code at all (according to some informed
opinions, including the unfrocked[1] lawyer I discuss economics of IP
with)?  (Cf

Which of the several djb (non-)licenses apply here?

    Greg> and perhaps having a standard on-disk format that could be
    Greg> read by perl etc.

AFAIK all of those requiring going through the library in question.
If that library is problematic because an instance of Coda linked with
a new version of the library can't read old databases, I would assume
the same is true of Perl vs. the old database.

    Greg> <flamebait>Are the mainstream Linux distributions really
    Greg> this broken?</>

Yes, Linux is rapidly diverging from what I want in a server platform
(more or less a hand-configured system with no non-user-servicable
parts).  But even though AFAICT the basic GNU and Linux distro
philosophy is to be all things to all people in a shrink-wrapped box
(rms proclamations that the GNU system is to be a "minimal common
basis" notwithstanding), they're running into resource limitations.
That results in decisions like removing db from GNU libc, and Debian
refusing to support libdb1.

It's hard to blame them in this case.  libdb, through its policy of
backward compatibility for APIs with binary incompatibility of the
databases makes it a distro maintainer's nightmare.  The Debian db
1.85 compatibility package has either regressed twice (or Ben Collins
changed his mind about fixing it after saying he would) because it's
far too easy to link a libdb >= 2 into a 1.85-specific utility.  And
reports to Debian about the problem typically get a rant about "You
shouldn't be passing around binary databases in this day and age" and
"Why can't admins dump and restore databases anyway?"

[1]  Ie, no longer admitted to the bar in any jurisdiction due to
moving internationally too often to keep up.

Institute of Policy and Planning Sciences
University of Tsukuba                    Tennodai 1-1-1 Tsukuba 305-8573 JAPAN
               Ask not how you can "do" free software business;
              ask what your business can "do for" free software.
Received on 2003-04-02 20:52:44