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Re: debootstrapping m68k-coldfire

On Thu, 6 Mar 2008, Ingo Juergensmann wrote:
On Thu, Mar 06, 2008 at 09:55:51AM +0100, Geert Uytterhoeven wrote:
On Wed, 5 Mar 2008, Ingo Juergensmann wrote:
Should support, but won't do so. In fact IT world became rather monocultural
when it comes down to architectures. MIPS is dead (except for embedded
systems), arm is embedded only, PowerPC is mostly dead with the exception of
some old PPCs and mainframes, and so on... Even i386 is about to fade away
in favour of amd64.
I just can't resist to comment: PowerPC is still big in game consoles,
and the PS3 can run Linux.

nemesisnetworks.com is hosted mainly off a single PowerPC server :-) (some of the services are on an ARM box)

In fact I've counted those as embedded systems as those are primarily
designed for one task and are not easily expandable as are "normal"
desktops. Since the Apple switch and the PegasosII being EOLd there's simply
no new PPC hardware available in the market (except for some expensive IBM
machines). Sure, the old macs will have a long life as well. The situation
of PPC is similar to the situation of m68k when Commodore went out of
business in 1994. Now we have 2008 and there's still some life in m68k.
There's much life after being dead, so to say... ;)

I know people who are still coding for the Sega Genesis/Megadrive in pure 68000 assembler :-). You have old platforms, and then you have platforms simply won't die.

However, due to the limited amount of memory compared to the PCs of
these days, a `light' (desktop) environment is still a good thing to

Right, therefor I'm in favour of "removing" (i.e. adding to N-F-U) some useless
and resource consuming packages from m68k.
Sure, it's nice to have KDE and/or Gnome on m68k as well, but if that means
that this will kill the port, then it's better to make a cut and primarily
build other packages that are more useful/lighweight packages like Icewm and
such first. If we have the time and resources we can then build/support
those 'heavier' packages as well in a different repo, similar to non-free,
maybe non-standard or such...

Couple of probles with N-F-Uing KDE/GNOME
While I don't have the numbers infront of me, I won't be suprised we'd fall apart 90% of the archive required for release, and last I checked, the Desktop Environment option in taskel installed GNOME. I doubt the RMs will let a release fly without GNOME or KDE. I'm suggesting a CDD which can be the bare bones basics with the Debian userland and APT; a best of both worlds sorta setup.

I know if a nice lightweight distro which still used Debian tools (and maybe even had most/all of the main archive available regardless), I'd probably switch. I used Xubuntu for quite awhile, and I enjoyed the lightweightness of it, although I feel it probably could have been cut down father (at the moment, were I to return to using Ubuntu, I'd probably use fluxbuntu since it looks very nice at the moment).

One of the problems with a distribution the size of Debian is its essentially one big blob; the whole thing has the release together or not at all. For any lightweight distribution (which is what m68k would require given its age), I don't think that's acceptable; a modular based system would be much more suited for these systems.

As I've been up most of the night since I can't sleep, I've been thinking about how we could create a Light or Embedded Debian distribution, more suited to embedded architectures (MIPS/ARM/Coldfire), old architectures (m68k, older powerpcs and i686s). After a friend forced me to try out ArchLinux, it gave me the inspiration on how this could work.

We split up the packages into several groups, called roles, similar to the choices you make in tasksel at install timeand you simply install a role to get that function. Adding or removing a role should be as simply as apt-get remove web-role; apt-get autoremove

For example:
* core - base system. Simple enough. Shells, APT, etc.
* web - Installs a basic HTTP server, and can support things like PHP, etc.
* db - SQL server
* fs-server - NFS/FTP/SMB/other servers.
* x11 - basic X11 system with say fluxbox. Can also be used as a thinclient

Roles are built in the buildds with the core first, then each section. Each section can be released seperately and independently if required (say a new release of X11 that has AMAZING_NEW_FEATURE_X is released, the x11 subset can release independently while still being compatiable with the rest of the distribution). This also allows some variation if a role doesn't make sense for a given architecture. Each role has its own Unstable/Testing/Stable system, so each section can independent freeze if needed; Normal releases where all the subsections of the archive freeze, and then are released as stable also happen.

In addition, we can (try to) provide the entire Debian package in addition to these role modules, giving the flexability of roles and the modular system, but not loosing the swiss-army-knife collection of packages that make up the current Debian system.

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