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Re: AMD64 Status Update -- And Future Directions

* Roland Fehrenbacher (rf@q-leap.de) wrote:
> The problem with your approach of doing 64bit first and then multiarch is that
> it is has just the wrong timing. 32 bit compatibility is needed most now and
> not sometime in the future when you care thinking about it.

The only wrong timing about it is that it took this long for someone to
do it.

> Your 64bit only suggestion breaks with a very important rule that makes
> architectures successful: Good (meaning performant and simple) backwards
> compatibility to a widely used architecture (being x86 in this

This is true when it comes to the chip and hardware, it's not true when
it comes to Debian.  Once someone decides to just do it there's no real
barrier to recompiling everything in Debian for amd64, which, in fact,
is exactly what John has begun doing.  Just about everything in Debian
has been 64bit safe for quite some time, it's not like we're having to
wait for things to be ported, it's generally just a recompile.

> that a Debian 64bit port will certainly find some users, but it will present a
> quite tough barrier for people to use Debian on this platform in general
> (especially in the business world).

A tough barrier to having a useful amd64 system running Debian to date
has been the attempted multiarch setup.  It really doesn't work very
well, obvious things like postgresql are missing, and it's not even in
it's finalized form (so it would seem if you follow the lists anyway).
I'm *in* the business world and have had to go with an i386-only amd64
system.  I'm very happy that someone has the time to fix this in the
*near* future.

> unpatient way of doing it. And heck, I am repeating myself: Multiarch is
> actually working now!!!!

It's almost as useful as i386 on amd64.

> Well I think it is more difficult for the simple fact that making radical
> changes on an existing and used platform (the proposed 64 bit port) is much
> more painful than on an experimental platform (like multiarch is currently).

Upgrade paths are not required, and besides, it's not like anyone's
*seriously* looked into this difficulty to see how difficult it would
really be.  There's just been alot of hand-waving about how hard it'd

>     John> 2. We get more people using Debian on AMD64...  they could help out
>     John> with the multiarch effort later.
> Those peolple who will be using this port obviously haven't cared about 32
> bit. So I don't think there is much hope in that.

That's not true.  I'd like to be able to use 32bit apps someday on my
amd64 system, but the lack of 32bit apps wouldn't keep me from running a
64bit port on it.  My primary applications are postgresql and some
home-grown stuff that I'm looking forward to recompiling and running as

> Anyway, nobody can stop you doing of what you are planning or already have
> started to do ... But please don't drag people away from the multiarch port by
> making flawed arguments.

If they care about multiarch then they'll work on multiarch.  For the
rest of us who agree multiarch is a good idea but want something usable
soon, John's work is much appriciated.  Attempting to hold hostage the
amd64 port for the sake of multiarch is a rather flawed idea and
thankfully not something we have to stand for.



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