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Re: Concerns about AMD64 port

On Thu, 5 Feb 2004, John Goerzen wrote:

> On Thu, Feb 05, 2004 at 06:46:12PM +0100, Goswin von Brederlow wrote:
> > > Plus, Goswin, in the long-run *multiarch* is the path of wasted time.
> > > If we are not going to want to waste our time, let us do a pure 64-bit
> > > userland, since eventually people will go there anyway, and multiarch
> > > will be deprecated on this platform.
> >
> > It will be years until 32 bit support will not be needed anymore. A
> > lot of commercial or binary-only programs will allways need it.
> Funny, I've been running my Alpha since 1997 with no need for 32-bit
> support.

I've been following this with some interest because I'm somewhat
in the same position.

Some of the programming I do must be 64 bit clean, so I need a
test machine. Years ago I got a Debian/alpha machine. It worked
fine, allowed me to test my code, ran some mailing lists, a web

Then its motherboard fried.

A week or so ago I picked up an Athlon64 machine... not a super
fancy dual processor server, but a Shuttle SN85G4 with a 3200+
CPU. nForce 3 chipset, blah little box, but good enough and less
than $1000 with all the trimmings. I figured (and I suppose I
should have done more research) that it would be as cleanly
supported as the alpha.

Heh. Bleeding edge, thy name is nForce3 AMD64 with a 2.6.0 kernel
thrown in for sport. Even tossing in a PCI NIC didn't smooth
things out enough.

Anyway, I'm all for a pure AMD64 distro, and I'm willing to
provide some help on that front. I don't mind if it can run 32b
as well, but I didn't pay extra just to see 1 in 100 apps
actually running 64 bit.

I'm not sure what I'm qualified to provide, but I have server
space, bandwidth, and a machine that, if it can be made to run,
may be handy.

The dpkg arch problem is an ugly one... the idea that you could
have multiple parallel architectures installed on one machine...
well, I can see how it would be missed in the design phase.
Perhaps what is needed is an architecture path concept... where
you specify that your architecture is
"AMD64:K7:i386:emulated-z80", and the system scans its AMD64
sources list and package database, then its i386, then whatever
else is on the list, and where a package is available on multiple
architectures picks the first version available version. Then
people who want a 32 bit machine with 64 bit version of packages
that are only available 64bit could set their pat as
"K7:i386:AMD64", people who wanted AMD64 only could set it as
"AMD64", most of us could use "AMD64,K7,i386", and so on. You'd
need a way of handling exceptions, but that shouldn't be hard.
Just a thought.

Anyway... Just to add fun to the fire... Microsoft's 64-bit
version of XP installed perfectly cleanly. What is the world
coming to when M$ has slicker 64 bit support than Debian? Than
Linux in general?  Something must be done!

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