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Request for comments: build-installer


In order to get debian-installer built on all archs, I have created a
package "build-installer" which creates the images.
This is an unorthodox package, and I would like comments as to whether
people think this is the right approach.

The idea is as follows: The source package "build-installer" builds the
install images for the debian installer, in a
form that they _might_ appear in the archive. (Note: this is not to
pre-empt the ftpmasters decision; but to provoke any discussion that may
be necessary; e.g do we need x images for MIPS, etc).
The binary debs are called

This  gets us the images built via the buildd mechanism, and gives
developers a place to find them : the archive, while we develop d-i.

Note: I do _not_ propose that this _package_ ever enters the stable
distribution; its a method to make the images for dists/..disks-* that
will go into the archive in the normal way. 

Assuming it works, I'll probably put a serious psuedo-bug on
build-installer, to stop it progressing to testing, etc.

As to how it works, there are two possible methods.

The cleanest solution is to tag all relevant sources, wrap them up in a
single tarball, and build that when we want to build the images. 

However we also want to rebuild frequently (on all archs), so we want to
avoid a massive build process. One way is what is implemented in
build-installer-0.0.001, download the udebs and build the image from
those. Fast, but it involves downloading in the debian/rules; running
the debuild does not give the same image every time; breaks lots of
rules. But, if we intend to rebuild the image frequently (eg daily), its
the lightest in terms of network load and processor time on the buildds.
Call this solution (1)

Better long-term is a method where a preconfigure step constructs all
the sources into a tarball; the build-installer-XXX.orig.tar.gz;
building this first builds all the udebsm then creates the images from
them. Good semantics, builds the same image every time, no downloading
during the build. But the tarball is 8-10 MB and build time may be
significant. Call this solution (2)

Alternatively we can avoid building d-i via a package altogether.
This requires seperate autobuild process for d-i (we need this to track
the consequences of a change of any component on each arch), and disk
space somewhere for the alpha images for each arch. 

I have implemented solution (2) in CVS, just in case.

What do people think? Should I go ahead with build-installer?

Alastair McKinstry

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