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  1. #1

    Cross Distro Compatibility

    Hi, I would like to know how compatible software is across distributions. That is, if software packages for one distro can be compatible with another, either natively, or with an emulator, etc.

    I'm asking this as I want a fairly heavily featured system, with programs for audio editing, 3d modelling, music and so on, and it seems that Ubuntu holds the vast majority of software for its distro, and I want to use Arch because I think it'd be better in the long run. However it seems like the repository, though impressive doesn't have a huge variety of packages, at least not as many as one of the larger distros have.

  2. #2
    hello and welcome, Aseaxles!

    The thing to remember about software packages is that they are binary (usually - sometimes they are just piles of config files and perl/python/shell scripts); that is, they are compiled for a specific architecture against specific libraries and header files. So you may find that Ubuntu 12.04 package foo runs great on your current version of Arch, but only b/c you happen to be on the same architecture, and have all the proper libraries in the appropriate places. As you can imagine, that is not very likely most of the time. It depends on how different the two Linux distros are, and how big and involved the program is that you are attempting to run.

    That is not to say that the software cannot be run, though. You could do one of two things:

    1) put a copy of the missing libs in the proper place on your target system

    2) recompile the package from source

    Sometimes, if it is a small package, I do the former. You will find the "ldd" tool indispensable in this case. Usually, though, if it is an important application, I recompile from source.

    The thing is, that is one of the things that Arch is known for, so if you plan to go that route, you should familiarize yourself with the Arch Build System.
    Last edited by atreyu; 10-10-2013 at 12:56 AM. Reason: typo

  3. #3
    Alright, I'll take a look into it. Thanks for the help.

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