In my opinion this video should be titled, “on why user space Linux sucks”.

In terms of what most users think about in terms of desktop this video has jack shit to do with you. Rather the video mainly focuses on the concerns of packaging your binaries and expecting it to run on Joe Random Linux Distribution.

I kind of applaud Torvalds for his long fought religious mantra of Don’t Break User Space. When you’re working with Linux itself, out of tree drivers breaking or needing pieces rewritten isn’t that unusual. Don’t maintain your driver, and you’re liable to go oh snap they replaced an entire subsystem or removed a deprecated API after comical number of years. But compatibility between the Linux kernel and user space software, is pretty superb.

One of the reasons why MS-DOS PCs took off, and CP/M before it, is the drive towards binary compatibility between customer machines. As much as Windows has often deserved its hate, backwards compatibility and stable ABIs–not I said, ABI, not API, has generally been pretty good.

Binary compatibility between Linux distributions has improved from the days where source systems were the best way to make shit work. But just the same, I did have to snicker at Torvald’s comments about the GNU C library (glibc), which has often pissed me off over the years with their concept of compatibility for such a core piece of user space.

As someone quite fond of desktop linux, I can’t say that binary compatibility of large applications between distributions is especially a fun thing. Not because it’s impossible, but because most of us involved just don’t care. I assume most, like me learned Unix systems in an environment where API compatibility was the only path to victory, or they simply don’t care about the zillion other Linux distributions.