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gcc | Octave 2.1.4x | saga continues

From: Evan Cooch
Subject: gcc | Octave 2.1.4x | saga continues
Date: Fri, 14 Feb 2003 11:11:06 -0500

To re-cap, I've been using 2.1.39 successfully on my RH 7.3 system, which has the 2.9.6 gcc compiler bundled. Several people have told me the this version of gcc is 'buggy' (confirming suspicions I've had). But, buggy or not, Octave 2.1.39 compiles and runs just fine with it.

However, starting with Octave 2.1.40, this version of gcc no longer successfully compiles Octave. The solution (as several folks have suggested) is to upgrade to a more recent flavour of gcc. I did so, to 3.2.2. While the Octave make for 2.1.4x seems to get further along than it did with gcc 2.9.6, it still crashes and burns. Turns out that the make is looking for several things which are not located under RH where they might be under other version of GNU/Linux (specifically, Debian, which seems to be the reference standard).

After about 2 hours of fiddling (adding this library, or that package), I decided to give up, and stick with 2.1.39. With RH, once you start mucking around with compilers, you can screw up a LOT of things (I made this mistake 2 months ago trying to upgrade python - had to do a complete re-install to recover). This is not to denigrate RH - I've found the single biggest pain with GNU/Linux systems in general is in handling package upgrades, and dependency resolution. Each of the 'big' releases of GNU/Linux (RH, SUSE, Debian) has their own approach to handling this, but none of them are as good as they could/should be. As such, upgrading software with multiple dependencies can be a real challenge, and is probably the single biggest reason for people 'purchasing' upgrades from RH (or SUSE) - the upgrades deal with all these hassles for you.

At some point, I'll try again, but in the interim, if anyone manages to build Octave 2.1.4x on a RH 7.xx system, please drop me a line.

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