[Date Prev][Date Next] [Thread Prev][Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

Re: AMD64 Status Update -- And Future Directions

Another point is that since multiarch is a project that is intended to support 
multiple architectures, maybe it should not be so intertwined with AMD64. If 
there is enough developer interest to support it (and it seems judging from 
the last few weeks there is) wouldn't it be better to split multiarch into 
its own project and have the amd64 port be just that, a full pure 64 bit port 
of debian to AMD64? That way the guys interested in developing multiarch 
wouldn't be hassled by all of us who want pure 64-bit debian now, and people 
interested in pure 64-bit debian would have an official channel to work 
through. Just my humble opinion.


On Thursday 12 February 2004 01:57 pm, John Goerzen wrote:
> Hello,
> At this time, the autobuilder has generated close to 3000 packages, all
> of which are present on my repository.  It has also nearly exhausted the
> list of packages that it can build.
> That is for several reasons.  One is that there are certain important
> packages missing that others build-depend upon (I highlighted these in
> my earlier message).  Another is that some packages just don't quite
> build out of the box.
> In any case, the 3000 packages represent a full selection of packages;
> everything from games to MySQL and Perl.  It is absolutely a working
> system and a useful system already.
> I have received several offers for help, both public and private,
> regarding the pure64 port.  I offer my kind thanks to all of you.  I do
> not really need help with the autobuilder, but any help you have to
> offer with things that it fails to build -- especially X -- would be
> appreciated.  As you work, please remember to save off your patches
> somewhere safe; once we become a real port, we will need to submit them
> to Debian maintainers so they can be integrated with the Debian
> packages.
> I feel it is time for us to start thinking about what will come of the
> AMD64 port.  There is a limit to what we can do without being an
> "official" Debian port project.  Of course, being an "official" Debian
> port project does not obligate us to release with the next version of
> Debian, but makes many useful bits of infrastructure available and helps
> us coordinate better.  In general, it makes our task easier and makes
> the tasks of others that must work with us easier as well.
> I propose that we build the Debian AMD64 port first as a pure 64-bit
> port, perhaps using the existing pure 64-bit packages as a guide.  There
> will be no 32-bit binaries in it, no capability to run 32-bit binaries
> (aside from a chroot that the user can create with existing tools), etc.
> We will have a true, working, usable 64-bit version of Debian to use,
> *now*.
> Then...
> When a way forward with the multiarch is finally laid out, and we are
> confident that it will work, we can transition to being a multiarch
> platform, *while still supporting those that want a pure 64-bit
> environment*.  I personally see no reason why moving from pure64 to
> biarch64 is any more difficult than moving from i386 to biarch64.
> This plan has the following benefits, when compared to the existing "do
> nothing until multiarch works" plan:
> 1. We get a head start on fixing the 64-bit bugs.   We get things
> working in AMD64 first, then make them work with 32-bit stuff too.
> 2. We get more people using Debian on AMD64...  they could help out with
> the multiarch effort later.
> 3. We provide a way for people that use Debian and demand top
> performance to get it, rather than turning them away to Gentoo, RedHat,
> or NetBSD.
> Finally, I should point out that it is by no means a certainty that
> multiarch will be a valuable feature in either the short-term or the
> long-term.  Significant rumblings indicate that lots of major vendors --
> including Intel -- are jumping on the AMD64 bandwagon in a major way.
> By the time we finish multiarch support, it may be completely obsolete;
> then we will have delayed a useful AMD64 port for no good reason.
> This is not just a hypothetical.  A parallel situation existed on Alpha,
> where the em86 system existed to run i386 Linux binaries unmodified on
> an Alpha (albeit at a greater performance penalty than running i386
> binaries on an AMD64).  This was initially important to early adopters
> of the Alpha, since there were no web browsers as good as Netscape at
> the time, etc.  But em86 hasn't really been kept up, and probably
> doesn't work in any kernel later than 2.0 or maybe 2.2.  There is simply
> no need for it anymore.
> This could very well happen to us.
> Let's prevent that.
> -- John

Joseph F. Ruscio
PhD Candidate
Computing Systems Research Lab
Virginia Tech

Reply to: