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Re: Concerns about AMD64 port

On Thu, Feb 05, 2004 at 03:55:47PM +0100, Goswin von Brederlow wrote:
> John Goerzen <jgoerzen@complete.org> writes:
> > The only reason I can see for even bothering to support 32-bit
> > applications at all is for binary-only proprietary software.  And that
> > is not such a concern; it takes all of about 10 minutes to set up a
> > 32-bit chroot with debootstrap to run those things in.
> That implies you have a kernel with 32bit emulation compiled in. So
> you are running a biarch system and not pure 64bit.

True, but everything else the ports page mentions will require it, since
it's basically required for everything out there for Debian right now.

> > So it seems to me that the great benefit to many people of having a
> > native 64-bit userland has been sacrificed for the questionable benefit
> > of being able to run proprietary software without making a chroot.  I am
> > still a little shocked about that.
> Our big goal is to support A) pure 32bit i386, B) mixed 32/64 bit
> i386/amd64 and C) pure 64bit amd64 userspace.

If a pure 64bit userspace is the goal, why does the AMD64 ports page say
such a thing is "academical and of little use"?

Can't A be accomplished simply by building a standard i386 kernel and
using a standard i386 distro?  IOW, don't we already have that?

B seems like the toughest thing to accomplish.  Wouldn't it make more
sense to get C done first, and then once the 64-bit userspace is
functional, add on the 32-bit emulation?

> For some crucial things likes libc6 it doesn't look like we can get
> rid of the 32bit flavour though. But apart from a bit of bloat here

Are you saying that libc6 cannot build as a 64-bit package?

> and there nothing stands in the way of a pure 64 bit amd64
> system (Except your time and willingness to port stuff).

Like I mentioned, there is not much manual effort here; most software is
already 64-bit clean.

> > Can someone explain what is going on here?
> Its a transition. Its all a mess untill stuff is cleaned up, things
> have been tried and decided upon.

I'm a little unclear on what we're transitioning from and to.  It's a
new arch, never before supported in Debian; where is the transition?

It seems to me that the fact that this arch has a particular feature
(the ability to run 32-bit apps) is causing us to ignore the primary
point of the arch (the ability to run 64-bit apps) because of this one
incidental feature.  Is not AMD64 perfectly usable with a pure 64-bit
userland?  Could not people that want a 32-bit userland install an
existing i386 Debian distro?

-- John

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