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Date:      Sat, 05 Mar 2011 02:13:13 +0100
From:      Jerome Herman <>
Subject:   Re: Purchased Binaries
Message-ID:  <>
In-Reply-To: <>
References:  <>

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Le 04/03/2011 22:24, Doug Hardie a écrit :
> I have a client who has purchased some software.  I don't know anything much about it yet other than it claims to run on Debian and CentOS.  I suspect its binaries.  I will have access to things like the developer, name etc. on Monday.  However, thats when he needs to know if I can make it run on FreeBSD. I am not convinced I want to run production software on the Linux compatibility suite.  No good reason other than it sounds like its adding a lot more opportunities for breakage.  This has to be an always up application.  I have virtually no knowledge of CentOS other than it was installed on one server when I got it.  Any chance those binaries might work on FreeBSD?  I am planning on starting with FreeBSD 8.2 since its just out and working fine on one of my servers, but could use an earlier version if required to make this stuff run.  _______________________________________________
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Based on what little informations you gave us, I will risk an analysis. 
I might be completly wrong, but most of the time this is how things happen :
One developper who has validated his product only on CentOS and Debian 
means troubles. When you have even just a little money on the side you 
start testing on Red Hat/Suse Enterprise and at least try it on Solaris. 
Always up means web, control or real-time.

First the program is in binary form - you probably won't have access to 
any code or compiling instructions - which means that
         Case 1 : It is a fully contained dedicated binary. Generally 
this is only the case whith extremely specialised binaries, for exemple 
a controller for a mechanical device. Generally these programs reads 
input from a file/stream/socket/device and writes to the same kind of 
folw for the output. In this specific case you might want to try linux 
compatibility. But I would hardly recommand it as you might loose all 
form of support in the process.
         Case 2 : It is an "all in one" program. Basically it means it 
will have a GUI or a web interface. This means most of the time that 
quite a lot of libraries are hardlinked or rt-linked, and that quite a 
lot of assumptions are made about the underlaying system (Bash is 
present, GTK libs too, the system is x86 or has x86 compatibiliy layer, 
terminal is in ISO and not UTF, X11 is installed etc.). Sometimes even 
the paths are hard coded. In this case go Debian - the exact same 
version the developper uses for testing. CentOS is ab interressing piece 
of software but it is very different from FreeBSD in many regards, and 
it is a bit overkill to use it for just one specific application.
         Case 3 : Even though it is propriatary, you do have access to 
source code and compile instructions.  Then native FreeBSD is definitly 
worth a try. Try to get as much testing time as you can from the client 
and the dev. Prepare a Debian on the side just in case.

In this kind of scenario (basically when the client needs a brand new 
binary you never heard of before installed for yesterday morning) I tend 
to use virtual machine as much as I can. If the application is not I/O 
hungry (disk or network) create a VM under Debian that you will be able 
to monitor from your FreeBSD. I would recommand VirtualBox if X11 is 
already in place on the server. During the testing phase take as many 
snapshots as possible. In the end, even if you go for dedicated 
hardware, you still will have  a pack of different setups you can refer 
to. And monitoring memory comsuption is a must on closed binaries 
comming form small companies...

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