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      1 Stuff that sucks
      2 ================
      3 See the [philosophy](//suckless.org/philosophy) page about what applies
      4 to this page.
      5 
      6 Bigger topics that suck: [systemd](//suckless.org/sucks/systemd),
      7 [the web](//suckless.org/sucks/web)
      8 
      9 Libraries
     10 ---------
     11 These libraries are broken/considered harmful and should not be used
     12 if it's possible to avoid them. If you use them, consider looking for
     13 alternatives.
     14 
     15 * [glib](http://library.gnome.org/devel/glib/) - implements C++ STL on top of C
     16   (because C++ sucks so much, let's reinvent it!), adding lots of useless data
     17   types for ["portability" and "readability"
     18   reasons](http://library.gnome.org/devel/glib/unstable/glib-Basic-Types.html).
     19   even worse, it is not possible to write robust applications using glib, since
     20   it [aborts in out-of-memory situations](https://bugzilla.gnome.org/show_bug.cgi?id=674446).
     21   glib usage is required to write gtk+ and gnome applications, but is also used when common
     22   functionality is needed (e.g. hashlists, base64 decoder, etc). it is not suited
     23   at all for static linking due to its huge size and the authors explicitly state
     24   that ["static linking is not supported"](https://bugzilla.gnome.org/show_bug.cgi?id=768215#c16).
     25 
     26   Alternatives: [libmowgli](https://github.com/atheme/libmowgli-2),
     27   [libulz](https://github.com/rofl0r/libulz),
     28   BSD [queue.h](https://man.openbsd.org/queue)/[tree.h](https://man.openbsd.org/tree) macros.
     29 
     30 * [GMP](http://gmplib.org/) - GNU's bignum/arbitrary precision
     31   library. Quite bloated, slow and [calls abort() on failed
     32   malloc](https://gmplib.org/repo/gmp/file/tip/memory.c#l105)
     33 
     34   Alternatives: [libtommath](http://www.libtom.net/LibTomMath/),
     35   [TomsFastMath](http://www.libtom.net/TomsFastMath/),
     36   [imath](https://github.com/creachadair/imath),
     37   [libzahl](//libs.suckless.org/libzahl) (WIP),
     38   [hebimath](https://github.com/suiginsoft/hebimath) (WIP)
     39 
     40 Build Systems
     41 -------------
     42 * [cmake](http://www.cmake.org/) (written in C++) - so huge and bloated,
     43   compilation takes longer than compiling GCC (!). It's not even possible
     44   to create freestanding Makefiles, since the generated Makefiles call
     45   back into the cmake binary itself. Usage of cmake requires learning a
     46   new custom scripting language with very limited expressiveness. Its
     47   major selling point is the existence of a clicky-click GUI for windows
     48   users.
     49 * [waf](https://code.google.com/p/waf/) and
     50   [scons](http://www.scons.org/) (both written in Python) - waf code is
     51   dropped into the compilee's build tree, so it does not benefit from
     52   updated versions and bugfixes.
     53 
     54 As these build systems are often used to compile C programs, one has to
     55 set up a C++ compiler or Python interpreter respectively just in order
     56 to be able to build some C code.
     57 
     58 Alternatives:
     59 [make](http://pubs.opengroup.org/onlinepubs/9699919799/utilities/make.html),
     60 [mk](http://doc.cat-v.org/plan_9/4th_edition/papers/mk)
     61 
     62 Version Control Systems
     63 -----------------------
     64 * [subversion](https://subversion.apache.org/) - Teaches developers to
     65   think of version control in a harmful and terrible way, centralized,
     66   ugly code, conceptionally broken in a lot of terms. "Centralized" is
     67   said to be one of the main benefits for "enterprise" applications,
     68   however, there is no benefit at all compared to decentralized version
     69   control systems like git. There is no copy-on-write, branching
     70   essentially will create a 1:1 copy of the full tree you have under
     71   version control, making feature-branches and temporary changes to your
     72   code a painful mess. It is slow, encourages people to come up with weird
     73   workarounds just to get their work done, and the only thing enterprisey
     74   about it is that it just sucks.
     75 
     76 Programs
     77 --------
     78 There are many broken X programs. Go bug the developers of these
     79 broken programs to fix them. Here are some of the main causes of this
     80 brokenness:
     81 
     82 * The program **assumes a specific window management model**,
     83   e.g. assumes you are using a WIMP-window manager like those
     84   found in KDE or Gnome. This assumption breaks the [ICCCM
     85   conventions](http://tronche.com/gui/x/icccm/).
     86 * The application uses a **fixed size** - this limitation does not fit
     87   into the world of tiling window managers very well, and can also be seen
     88   as breaking the ICCCM conventions, because a fixed sized window assumes
     89   a specific window management model as well (though the ICCCM does not
     90   forbid fixed-size windows). In any case, the ICCCM requests that clients
     91   accept any size the window manager proposes to them.
     92 * The program is based on strange **non-standard window manager
     93   hints** that only work properly with a window manager supporting these
     94   extensions - this simply breaks the ICCCM as well. E.g. trash icon
     95   programs.
     96 * The program does not conform to ICCCM due to some **missing or
     97   improperly set hints**.
     98 
     99 If you still need some program which expects a floating WM, use it in
    100 floating mode.
    101 
    102 Documentation
    103 -------------
    104 Somewhen GNU tried to make the world a bit more miserable by inventing
    105 [texinfo](https://www.gnu.org/software/texinfo/). The result is that
    106 in 2019 man pages are still used and the documentation of GNU tools
    107 requires you to run `info $application`. The info browser is awkward and
    108 unintuitive and the reason why no one gets further than finding 'q' to
    109 quit it.
    110 
    111 Look at GNU tools how to not handle documentation.
    112 
    113 Talking about the suck in enforced HTML documentation, which forces
    114 you to open up a 1 Gb of RAM wasting web browser, just to see some
    115 eye-candy, which could have been described in the source with some easy
    116 way to jump to that line in the source code, is not worth the time.
    117 
    118 The suckless way is to have a short usage and a descriptive manpage. The
    119 complete details are in the source.
    120 
    121 Alternatives: roff, [mdoc](https://mandoc.bsd.lv/).
    122 
    123 C Compilers
    124 -----------
    125 * [GCC](http://gcc.gnu.org/): as of 2016 it is now written in C++ and so
    126   complete suck. Why can't a compiler just be a simple binary doing its work
    127   instead of adding path dependencies deep into the system?
    128 * [Clang](http://clang.llvm.org/) is written in C++. If you don't
    129   believe that it sucks, try to build clang by hand.
    130 
    131 Alternatives: see the Compilers section of the [/rocks/] page.
    132 
    133 See also
    134 --------
    135 The [list of harmful software](http://harmful.cat-v.org/software/) at
    136 [cat-v.org](http://cat-v.org).