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Re: Suggestions for how ARM Ltd could help Debian?

+++ Nicholas Clark [03-11-30 17:41 +0000]:
> On Thu, Nov 27, 2003 at 06:07:43PM +0000, Wookey wrote:
> > Do we have people who could free up more time for this stuff is someone paid
> > them to do it? But would that be devisive - with someone get paid and most
> > of us not. Any better ideas?
> The perl community has been running development grants for about 9
> months now, for projects where funding of $2000-$4000 would help.

> Such a scheme seems to be a reasonable way to avoid "unfairness" as anyone
> can apply, and projects are judged on merit (roughly value for money, "would
> it get done without a TPF grant" and suchlike)
> Problem is that it takes (a) reasonably regular supply of money
> (b) admin to collate calls for proposals, work with the proposer to get them
> into shape, move money to the proposer, etc

That does seem a sensible model, although it may be overkill for our current

> > Faster build/test hardware (e.g. a couple of Iyonix boxes - 600Mhz Xscale
> > with Hard drives)? Would that help?
> I think so. My impression is that the current build daemons can get behind.
> Having 1 or 2 fast machines which can also be used by Debian developers to
> log in and investigate bugs on the ARM platform would seem to be a good
> time/money trade off - presumably currently the fastest machines are
> 1/3rd of the speed?

Yes. As phil observes the current machines do actually keep up quite well
(even with the recent sarge activity which has generated a lot of churn). I
think the time when faster hardware really helps is if you are trying to
debug mozilla or X and sitting around for days waiting for compiles makes
the process rather inefficient.

> Is embedded debian more likely to appeal for handhelds and other such
> devices? 

In its current incarnation (emdebsys) it's more aimed at special-purpose
embedded/vertical market devices (generate a filesystem for a specific
purpose), but the current plans envisage something more like 'normal debian
stripped down' which should be more useful on handhelds, but really I think
familiar are doing a fine job on the user-facing handhelds front and there
isn't much point re-inventing their wheel - Emdebian is more aimed at
developers wanting to easily put debian on any-old (small) device. (It's
also not arm-specific, at least in theory :-)

> (I get the impression that portable devices are the majority
> users of ARMs)

I'm sure you are right, although there are also quite a lot of 'obscure
random low-power uses' such as in-vehicle systems, monitoring kit in boxes
in odd environments and POS-type systems. Making life easier for the
developers and manufacturers of all those is where emdebian can best help out. 

(this is getting a bit OT now)

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