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Ryan Gordon Is Fed Up, FatELF Is Likely Dead

Free Software

Published on 03 November 2009 07:20 PM EST
Written by Michael Larabel in Free Software
159 Comments

The news just keeps rolling in today... Besides VIA trying again to submit their kernel DRM, learning about KDE 4.4 features, announcing AMD's UVD2-based XvBA finally does something on Linux, the release of the Linux 2.6.32-rc6 kernel, and GNOME 3.0 likely being delayed to next September, we also have news this evening from the well-known Linux game porter Ryan Gordon (a.k.a. Icculus).

Last week we reported on the FatELF project that Gordon started in an attempt to effectively bring Apple's "Universal Binaries" concept to Linux. With Ryan's FatELF, a single binary (and even hardware drivers, in theory) could work on any Linux architecture and down the road even the *BSD and Solaris operating systems too. Ryan had a working prototype of FatELF, which effectively just packs multiple binary files into a single binary, but his code touched the Linux kernel, glibc, and other key components too.

After just going through the process of trying to get his FatELF patches into the Linux kernel, which were rejected, he is frustrated and has effectively given up on this project. Ryan did not enjoy his communication with the Linux kernel developers and not much was achieved in the way of FatELF or improving Linux, but even if he does end up persuading his patches to enter the mainline tree, the glibc maintainer has already expressed definite disinterest in FatELF.

Ryan concluded his finger update by saying:

I'm more than a little discouraged by this endeavor. I think I'll declare FatELF done for now. I'll leave the project page up, but I imagine it'll only be for archeological purposes.

I'm surprised by how angry I am about this whole thing. That's life in the NBA, though. If you don't like it, don't play. I'll definitely think twice before trying to contribute again, especially if it addresses the status quo. Open source is a lot more gratifying when you are working on your own project. Contributing to other projects? Not so much fun, it turns out.


Perhaps now Ryan will find the time to finish the Unreal Tournament 3 Linux client? Or perhaps Nexuiz or another popular free software game should invite and welcome Ryan to contribute.

About The Author
Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the web-site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience and being the largest web-site devoted to Linux hardware reviews, particularly for products relevant to Linux gamers and enthusiasts but also commonly reviewing servers/workstations and embedded Linux devices. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics hardware drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated testing software. He can be followed via and or contacted via .
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