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Re: Questions regarding armhf port for Raspberry Pi

On Tue, Mar 06, 2012 at 06:22:38PM -0800, Mike Thompson wrote:
> I am potentially interested in creating/maintaining a Debian port that
> would mirror the work being done in armhf, but with the port tuned to the
> specifics of the Raspberry Pi hardware which I believe is ARMv6+VFPv2.  The
> goal would be a Debian distribution on the Raspberry Pi which would squeeze
> the most performance possible from the CPU/MPU on the $25 to $35 device.  It
> seems that such an effort could piggyback off the efforts of those working
> on armhf so it could be managed by a small group of volunteers.

Hmm I thought armhf did ARMv6, but no, it uses thumb-2 which apparently
means ARMv7.

Certainly a lot of the work going into armhf to get vfp and such working
should help.

So what would you name armhf for ARMv6?

> I don’t have experience with managing such a project, but I’m a fairly
> quick learner and could hopefully leverage past experience with maintaining
> builds of FreeBSD years ago. I've been a user of Debian for many years and
> as a user I'm quit impressed with the community that supports it.  I've
> never been let down.  With this in mind, I have a few questions to
> understand what would be involved in such an effort.
> First, is there an existing group of volunteers already looking to support
> the Raspberry Pi hardware in this manner?  If so, I could look to lend a
> helping hand rather than trying to duplicate working being done by others
> that potentially have much more experience/knowledge of what would be
> involved.
> Second, where would I start to understand what is involved with creating a
> Debain port that supports a specific set of hardware such as the Raspberry
> Pi.  Obviously the archive management and autobuilding tools will have to
> learned.  Hopefully this path has been followed enough that it’s fairly
> well documented and not tribal knowledge.

Having looked at that recently, I am not so sure it is clearly documented
how to setup a buildd.  Maybe I just haven't found it yet.

> Third, beyond time to learn everything involved and organize whatever other
> volunteers might help, what would be required in terms of hardware, network
> bandwidth, etc…  A person I’ve communicated with on the Raspberry Pi forums
> indicated that cluster of six Freescale i.MX535 Quick Start boards with
> SATA hard disks may be enough to get started with. If figure this could
> probably be had for about $2000 or perhaps less.

I got my i.MX53 QSB for $100 as a special, but $150 is the normal price.
It makes a quite good build machine since it is pretty fast and has
1GB ram.  An i.MX6 based board with multiple cores (and being Cortex-A9
and hence faster than the A8) would be even better, but I think those
cost a lot more too, if they even have any starter boards for those yet.

> Finally, what high-level things should be thought through before starting
> such a project.  I’m certain many projects like this get started all the
> time just to whither on the vine for various reasons.  I would like to
> avoid that scenario if possible.
> Thank you for any feedback or information.

Len Sorensen

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