[ODE] On the meaning of ODE stability (was some quick notes on 0; 6) ...

Terry L. Triplett c0d3g33k at gmail.com
Fri Jun 23 14:20:46 MST 2006

Thanks for joining in, Justin.  I've been trying to be as polite and
non-confrontational as possible, but you've given voice to similar thoughts
I have whenever the "system-wide" gravitational field pulls a discussion out
of orbit.

My personal motivation isn't advocacy of "system-wide" (though I'm not
against it, for the reasons you mention), though I do need a shared library
for the same reasons as yourself.  I learned years ago that the package
management and community infrastructure provided by Linux distributions is
much better at managing my systems and keeping them in a consistent state
than "download/compile/install everything yourself."  The latter doesn't
scale, particularly when one considers all the different tools and libraries
found on a typical development system.

As such, I generally make local packages for personal use if something isn't
already available as a package.  From there it's an obvious step to make my
package available for everyone to benefit from by submitting it to the
packaging system (Gentoo in my case).  It's about sane management of my
system and time saving, not about trying to force ODE to adopt a "system
wide" philosophy.  The possibility of doing so is a side-effect of managing
a shared library, though, so I guess it is an issue that needs to be hashed
out.  As you point out, ODE seems to be out of sync with generally accepted
practice in this respect.

On 6/23/06, Justin Couch <justin at vlc.com.au> wrote:
> Jon Watte (ODE) wrote:
> > Each game will depend on specific bugs and quirks of specific versions
> > of ODE. A systemwide ODE shared library isn't all THAT useful in general
> > (other than as a checkmark), and is downright detrimental to software
> > compatibility moving forward.
> That argument doesn't stand up to reality. You could apply this same
> argument to any library that a game uses - OpenGL/OpenAL, DirectX,
> whatever. Yet, games and game writers manage to do just find handling
> that. They even have to deal with bugs based on different driver
> implementations of the same API or different variants of the same
> hardware - a far, far more complex set of problems than a simple
> software library like ODE.
> This whole stand against a system-wide library strikes me as very
> backwards in thinking. It's almost like we're in the late 80's all over
> again. It's the only library that I've come across with this sort of
> horribly negative attitude towards its users. You, as library developers
> should be listening to what your users want and make sure it functions
> correctly for that situation. Not the other way around of telling them
> how to write and package their applications - many of which are
> completely unable to do that.
> I'm another one of these developers that has another language binding
> over ODE (in my case, Java). We're needing to use the system library
> approach because that's how the language and runtime environment works.
> The current setup is, quite frankly, a horrible nightmare to deal with
> for applications that bind to it from the Java world. Something, that
> with a couple of line change to some build scripts, could be easily
> solved once and for all (ignoring the GL-style f/d function name suffix
> stuff, which will be very, very useful once complete).
> --
> Justin Couch                         http://www.vlc.com.au/~justin/
> Java Architect & Bit Twiddler              http://www.yumetech.com/
> 3D Java Graphics Information                    http://www.j3d.org/
> -------------------------------------------------------------------
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>   a single light or many lights, lights that one must know how to
>   distinguish, recognise and appreciate? Is it one light with many
>   frames or one frame for many lights?"      -Subcomandante Marcos
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