[webkit-gtk] ABI compatibility between releases

Xan xan.lopez at gmail.com
Thu May 5 15:53:14 PDT 2011

On Thu, May 5, 2011 at 3:09 PM, Grant Gayed <Grant_Gayed at ca.ibm.com> wrote:
> Most of the other libraries that SWT uses (gtk2, atk, glib, etc.) have not
> broken us in 10 years of use, as they maintain API and ABI compatibility as
> a policy.  Maintaining ABI compatibility may not matter when a client app is
> being shipped with a linux distro, but it greatly affects software that
> users download rather than using a version that's bundled with their OS.  I
> assume there are other apps out there that also become broken by changes
> like this (?).  Is there any will to maintain binary compatibility in future
> WebKitGTK releases?  To do so would do a great service to your client apps
> (or at least one of them :-) ).

We understand changing the ABI creates problems for some people, so we
don't do it lightly. In this particular case a series of reasons
converged that convinced us that it was the right thing to do at that
moment. Other than that we still stick to our policy of gradually
removing deprecated functionality relatively quick (after two major
stable releases), so if you are expecting frozen-in-time-for-10-years
stuff you are probably going to be disappointed again in the future.
It's my understanding that the maintainers of the libraries you
mention think keeping things stagnant for so long was a mistake, and
that a better compromise must be reached between moving forward and
backwards compatibility, so I don't think we are alone in this kind of

Hope that helps,


> Thanks,
> Grant
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> webkit-gtk at lists.webkit.org
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