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Re: multiarch/bi-arch status (ETA) question

On Tue, Jul 05, 2005 at 01:49:08PM -0400, David Wood wrote:
> I actually have a completely different question. I just re-read the 
> multi-arch doc and two things jump out: first, it looks extremely 
> non-controvertial, i.e. all parties should at least agree it's simple and 
> right - there's nothing wrong with it; 

   It caused considerable controversy when it was first suggested, and
continued to do so for some time. I suspect that the only reason it
isn't causing much controversy at the moment is because very few
people are doing anything on it right now, so it's not being noticed

> second, it looks there's no reason to wait to start.
> Am I a bonehead or is it just a matter of moving some directories and 
> symlinks around in etch and then the super-gradual process (many many 
> years if you want) of migrating things from using the legacy symlinks to 
> the multiarch dirs... Why wait to get started? What would break?

   It's quite a lot more complicated than that. You need explicit
support in dpkg, for a start. And in dselect, apt, and all apt's
friends. I had a go at doing the dpkg support last year, and it
defeated me(*). It is very much non-trivial.

   Then you have to modify _every_ library package to build properly,
putting the files in the right places. This will probably involve at
least some work on the various Debian build systems. It won't all be
done by one person (or team of people), but by all the relevant
developers -- but that still causes a lot of work for the multiarch
developers in helping everyone else migrate. Small libraries are
probably easy, but (for example) libc and libstdc++ are very nasty to
get right.

   There are also (IIRC) big questions about handling things like perl
libraries and libs for other non-compiled (or bytecode-compiled)
languages, which remain unresolved.


(*) Probably not saying much -- I'm not the world's finest hacker --
but I understand I'm not alone in finding dpkg's code really awkward
to work with.

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