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I have a C program which depends on Linux system libraries. Which is right:

This program is Linux-dependent.

This program is Linux-depending.

Google search gives me some examples of the former usage, but I am wondering if it is really right.

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I do not understand dependent as an adjective used here. Or is it used like a past particle? – fossilet Jan 4 '12 at 9:26
On a similar note as fossilet, "depends" may mean "requires" (the program requires Linux and will not function on BSD or Windows), or it may mean "is variable upon" (the program works one way in CentOS Linux and a different way in Gentoo Linux). For your documentation, I would choose more explicit wording to avoid ambiguity: "This program requires Linux libraries to be installed" or "This program's installation location will vary according to Linux distribution" or some such. – choster Jan 4 '12 at 20:30
up vote 3 down vote accepted

Linux-depending is not a common or accepted usage.

Linux-dependent is commonly used to mean what you intend, and you should probably use it.

However, the word depend can have a different meaning:

  1. The child depends on the parent -- the child requires the parent in order to function
  2. The timetable depends on the season -- the timetable varies as the season changes

Hence the -dependent suffix is open to the same two interpretations.

"The application is Linux-dependent" could mean:

  1. "The behaviour of application varies, depending on the type of Linux it is running on"
  2. "The application requires Linux"

However, by common usage, if you use these words, people will infer the intended meaning.

"This application requires Linux", however, is more or less unambiguous (although a real pedant would point out that it doesn't specify in what capacity Linux is required).

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@z7sgѪ What Google are you using? A general Google search gives 8,520,000 hits. And 34,400,000 for "Windows-dependent". Google Books isn't really the appropriate place to search. – slim Jan 4 '12 at 17:33
Hmm something went wrong there. Now I get 16,700 hits "linux dependent" with this as the top page and the rest mostly autogenerated junk. You didn't search for the exact phrase. Just searching for both words is meaningless. – z7sg Ѫ Jan 4 '12 at 17:39
Anyway, right or wrong, your answer is way, way better than the top answer here. The fact that has six votes just makes me want to quit the site (again). "X is the answer" is so pointless. – z7sg Ѫ Jan 4 '12 at 17:45
@z7sgѪ Apologies. Searching for hyphen-separated-phrase used to mean words in that exact order on Google. It seems that's changed. I get 18,000 for "linux-dependent" with quotes. I see your autogenerated junk, but I also see a good smattering of genuine uses, including IBM documentation. – slim Jan 4 '12 at 17:51
@slim Thank you for your explanation. I agree it is not very clear to just say Linux-dependent. What kind of particle do you think dependent is here? – fossilet Jan 5 '12 at 1:18

Linux-dependent is the right usage.

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I think Linux-depending is also right, but people tend to use the former usage. From dependent etymology it says dependent is from the present particle of the French word dépendre, so it is like depending in English. – fossilet Jan 4 '12 at 9:40
no.. As a programmer i have never used Linux-depending.. its always platform-dependent and not platform-depending. – Apoorva Jan 4 '12 at 9:46

"Depending" exists as an independent word, meaning "whether", or "conditionally", but I cannot think of any compounds ending "-depending". They are always "-dependent".

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This program is Linux-dependent is correct.

However in programming world, you can also say "This program is only compatible with Linux"

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Dependency and compatibility may not be the same. – Kris Jan 4 '12 at 9:26
Yes, I agree. But in programming, compatibility means the ability of running on a different system(computer). My suggestion is limited to the context of programming. – Incognito Jan 4 '12 at 9:29

To me, Linux-dependent does not sound quite right. Instead, I would say Linux-only software.

For example

GNOME Discusses Becoming a Linux-only Project

The word dependency makes me think of a required library but a platform or OS is more than that.

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Linux is not the OS but the kernel so you can depend from Linux. For instance, Android is Linux based. – nico Jan 4 '12 at 14:38
@nico Android depends on the Linux kernel. But we are not talking about depending on the kernel, but writing software exclusively for one OS. Also, in common usage, Linux is not just a kernel. – z7sg Ѫ Jan 4 '12 at 15:12
are we? Linux system libraries to me doesn't sound like it depends on a particular OS. Anyway I see Linux-dependent and Linux-only as two different things. – nico Jan 4 '12 at 15:19
@nico Yes I agree they are two different things. But I would say the kernel + libraries is essentially the OS and that's probably really what's being depended on. Otherwise just specify what actual dependencies are required and it's no longer Linux-only software. Or say it depends on the Linux kernel. Linux-dependent is really quite unclear terminology as this little discussion proves. – z7sg Ѫ Jan 4 '12 at 15:30
I agree that it is unclear. As written in the examples, I would take the OP's meaning as it depends upon a certain flavor or distribution of Linux. – horatio Jan 4 '12 at 15:37

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