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Ok I know there are lots of branches of linux and stuff and each distro has software compatible with it but some software compatible with one Distro may not be ...
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  1. #1
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    Linux Software Compatibility


    Ok I know there are lots of branches of linux and stuff and each distro has software compatible with it but some software compatible with one Distro may not be compatible with another Distro.

    First of all is software written and compatible with Ubuntu compatible with all distros based off ubuntu such as linux mint and elementary os? Since Ubuntu is based of debian does that also mean all debian software can be run on ubuntu and all linux distros that branch of debian?

    I've heard of linux distros having package managers... If a distro has a certain package manager such as pacman does that mean any distro with that package manager can run software obtainable with that package manager?

    How many types of linux compatiblity are there and how do you determine what distros are compatible with what packages? I'm really confused about all this but would it be safe to say on the linux distro timeline that the 3 main distros "Debian", "Slackware" and "Redhat" are unable to run eachothers software and that all distros branching off them includes distros branching off distros branched of them are able to run their parents software?

    For example Damn Small Linux branches off knoppix which branches off Debian. Does that mean any linux software for debian will run on damn small linux?

    Really my question is how do you determine compatibility.

    P.S Does old software eventually become in-compatible with newer systems? For example will software written for the first version of Debian still be compatible with the latest version of Debian?

  2. #2
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    The package-manager gets it's software from repositories. every distro has several official repositories containing software usually grouped by how well screened/compatible they are with the OS. usually only the most compatible ones are enabled by default. also there is some free non-free software licenses separation(more philosophical).
    Linux works a little different as far as aging compared to apple and windows. programs on Linux are typically living projects as apposed to software that is sold and updated a few times. So when you update, your OS and software update at the same time and everythings on the same page.

  3. #3
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    The simple answer to compatibility is - maybe. The quickest way to find out is to look either in the distro's web site or repository list. However, to answer a few of your specific examples:

    Ubuntu is not compatible with Debian as it has changed too much. You may occasionally find a package that will work but it is unlikely.
    Mint is compatible with Ubuntu and uses it's repositories. Mint Debian Edition is compatible with Debian - testing by default, but not with Mint or Ubuntu.
    Siduction, the distro I use is compatible wirh Debian but is based of the unstable branch.

    From this you can see that the issue of compatibility is an interesting one but what it really boils down to is what versions of which libraries are in use by the distro and which compilers have been used to build things.

    Always check compatibility and never take it for granted. If you stick to the repositories that are for the distro, and take care when adding third party repositories then you should have no issues in that regard
    "I used to be with it, then they changed what it was.
    Now what was it isn't it, and what is it is weird and scary to me.
    It'll happen to you too."

    Grandpa Simpson



    The Fifth Continent

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