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The new armhf in town...

A few months ago I asked some basic questions about the possibility of
a port of Debian armhf to the Raspberry Pi on this email list.  I
received a number of thoughtful answers that helped set me on the path
to creating Raspbian -- an unofficial port of Debian Wheezy armhf for
the Raspberry Pi.  With invaluable assistance from Debian Developer
Peter Green, there is now a new armhf port in town.  Even better, this
port has just become the official recommended Linux distribution for
the Raspberry Pi as indicated here:

This unofficial port of Debian armhf will now be downloaded and used
by a significant number of the 200,000 existing users of the Raspberry
Pi and will hopefully reach a projected 1 million+ users of the
Raspberry Pi by the end of the year.  Hopefully this will help expose
100,000's of new Linux users to the Debian Project.

Just to recap for those who aren't familiar with Raspbian, it's a
complete rebuild of Debian Wheezy armhf for the armv6+vfp CPU on the
Raspberry Pi.  Unfortunately, for Raspberry Pi users, the regular
Debian Wheezy armhf port only supports armv7+vfp3d16+thumb2 capable
ARM CPUs.  Therefore, to fully utilize the capabilities of the
Raspberry Pi users, a complete rebuild of 18,000+ binary packages was
needed.  This rebuild took about six week to complete using a bank of
Freescale iMX53 QSB build servers very similar to what was used in the
original armhf port.  Also, the armv6 code produced for Raspbian fully
ABI compatible with Debian armhf which actually made the port much
easier than it otherwise would be.

I hope this news will be interesting to Debian-arm mailing list
subscribers.  Thank you for your guidance and suggestions a few months
ago that helped make this new unofficial port of Debian armhf
possible.  I've been a very happy Debian user for about 10 years now
and I hope this returns something to the community.

Mike Thompson

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