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Alpha build progress and suggestions for helping

Debian Alpha Enthusiasts,

We have been building packages for Alpha on Debian-Ports for just over
six weeks now.  There are two A1200s and one XP1000 working as build
daemons so progress is not fast, but we have moved from over 4000
packages needing to be built to fewer than 2000 packages needing building.

There have been some tricky builds to do that required building special
chroots with carefully constructed availability of packages to fix
conflicts in packages installation, etc., so that we could build
critical packages and take us, for example, through the mutliarch and
python2.7 transitions.  Snapshot.debian.org has been my friend in this

We now can install a minimal Alpha system with debootstrap.  If you have
a basic install without desktop/Xwindows, you now might be able to run
'apt-get dist-upgrade' successfully.

The Xserver should also be able to be upgraded to version 1.11.0-1. I
would be interested in reports of how it works.  (You still can't run
KMS if you have a radeon card but that will be fixed in the near
future---the patch has just gone into the kernel upstream.)

There are still quite a few conflicts and problems in desktop software
so most people will not be able to run 'apt-get dist-upgrade'
successfully at the moment.

If you have the desktop installed and want to help out with fixing bugs
in packages then you can upgrade some of the system by doing the following:

apt-get install build-essential
apt-get install python2.6

If at any time apt reports conflicts/problems and says to run 'apt-get
-f install' then do what apt is telling you, run:

apt-get -f install

then run

apt-get upgrade

which will upgrade as much as possible.

Now suggestions for helping out:

We have ~180 packages that have failed to build.  I have done a first
pass through many of them and have reallocated 26 as failed.  They all
already had bugs registered against them in the BTS, and mostly affect
multiple arches.  That leaves ~165 in build-attempted.  You can see the
list by browsing to buildd.debian-ports.org and clicking the Alpha link.

Many have failed because of a broken ghostscript install. Unfortunately
the newest ghostscript failed to build but I plan to have a closer look
at that in the next couple of days.  So ignore any packages with the
error: "Can't find initialization file gs_init.ps."

I have noticed that anything built with java is failing to build with a
"couldn't find library libgcj_bc.so.1" error during the install stage.
Maybe someone would like to investigate that further.

gnat-4.4 (The ada compiler) is also refusing to build.  It seems to
build depend on itself and isn't happy with the old version available so
gets given back to be built again, ad infinitum.  Maybe someone would
like to investigate that or talk to the gnat maintainers to get advice
on how it can be built.

The are also a myriad of other reasons while packages have failed to
build.  Take a look the build-attempted list and any packages that take
your fancy investigate why they are failing to build and, even better,
suggest a fix.


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