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debian-alpha ready for more developers...

Ok, for those of you with logins on master.debian.org who would like to join
the debian-alpha development effort...

In the directory tree under /home/Debian/ftp/private/alpha/Stage1 you will
find a disks-alpha directory, and a binary-alpha directory.  The former has
the pieces necessary to construct a bootable, self-hosting debian-alpha system
if and only if you already have some other (Redhat?) Linux running on your
AXP system.  This has only been tested on my UDB with 64meg RAM and a variety
of SCSI disks.  Caveat emptor for any other configuration at this point.

Once you have the minimal base system up and running, you can pull files over
from the binary-alpha tree and use dpkg to install them.  Note that the base
tarball in disks-alpha has the dpkg_1.4.0.7_alpha.nondebbin.tar.gz from Paul
Bame included already unpackaged, so the first thing to do is probably to grab
the dpkg_1.4.0.7_alpha.deb and dpkg-dev_1.4.0.7_all.deb from the special temp
directory binary-alpha/dpkg and install them, then move on to installing other

There is no dselect yet.  There are still ways to make dpkg seg-fault, but it
is works for me now for both installing and building packages.

I'm about to embark on another burst of energy on the satellite payload that
I'm helping deliver for an upcoming amateur satellite launch, so I will be
spending only small amounts of time in the coming weeks working on this.
That's why I've pushed this morning to get all the right pieces in place for
others to pick up and carry on from where I've gotten to.  I'll keep up with
the mail and keep doing pieces here and there, but I invite and encourage
anyone else who wants to help to jump in and get cooking...

Things that need to be done:

	- build a newer libc6 snapshot.  A new cut of work for i386 has just
	  been uploaded to master.  Working from that and folding in changes
	  from the linux-alpha community as needed is probably the right
	  approach.  I don't have time to deal with this at all.

	- build newer packages for the other devel tools, particularly the
	  compiler.  Needed to make libc6 a safer place to live.

	- build a MILO package.  I think aboot looks cool (I'd rather use
	  SRM than ARC to boot since I'd like to use a fixed-scan-rate monitor
	  eventually), but MILO is what the Alpha community is using so we
	  should use it too.

	- build fresher kernels... there's a set of patches for 2.0.21 that
	  are needed for Alpha.  I have a 2.0.29 tree that was built by
	  patching 2.0.21, and then applying Linus patches to get to 2.0.29.
	  I ran into a compiler problem part-way through the build and have
	  not gotten time to get back to it.  Using a 2.1.<recent> kernel 
	  might eliminate the need for the alpha-specific patches, I don't 
	  know.  I'm running the 2.0.18 from my Redhat 4.0 CD right now, and
	  "it works".

	- build a boot/install system that doesn't require Redhat to be up
	  and running on the target hardware already.

	- freshen all the packages - most packages in the new source format are
	  trivial to build (except that we may run into 64-bit-isms in some
	  places).  The others take more work.

	- move this stuff to the normal bo aka unstable tree when Bruce says
	  it's ok.  I'll coordinate/do this when the time comes.

Go for it, and enjoy!


ps:  the above represents mostly the work of the folks at cistron.nl.  They
     gave me access to a snapshot of their work, and I've worked from there.
     Paul Bame has been cross-developing from a Redhat system, and has made
     progress with dpkg without which I wouldn't be comfortable unleashing
     this stuff on a wider audience.  Me?  I've just hacked here and there and
     coordinated getting things to master... don't give me undue credit for
     any of this!

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