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Re: Release status of i386 for Bullseye and long term support for 3 years?

Calum McConnell <calumlikesapplepie@gmail.com> writes:

> A very fair point, and quite equitably put.  If I was remotely
> comfortable tweaking kernels, or used a 32 bit machine regularly, I
> would be more comfortable volunteering.  As it is, I have only really
> learned to maintain packages in the past few months, and I feel nowhere
> near confident enough about my future to make a three-year commitment.

It sounds like from Adrien's message that one of the missing pieces is
more people testing d-i regularly on i386 hardware to confirm that it
works properly.  That's something that doesn't require much kernel
tweaking, and may be a quick way to help.

Increasingly most of the people who work on Debian don't have i386
hardware lying around, particularly i386 hardware that requires an i386
kernel or that exercises the full range of older boot processes.  If you
do, testing and reporting good bugs would probably be helpful.

It sounds like there are a fair number of people want the i386
architecture to survive, which is great.  That probably means the
resources are there.  One of the things a porter does is coordinate the
effort, so people who are willing to invest time into that coordination
can help even if they don't think they can fix tricky kernel bugs.

> But I would like to say that, while it is a significant workload, it
> isn't one that isn't being done.  There is still only one porter, it's
> true, but that's also currently the case for ppc64el, and s390x has no
> confirmed porters.

My intuition is also that i386, although becoming less popular, was
starting from such a huge install base that the resources are probably out
there somewhere.

> Further, unless "sudden death of most porters" can be added to the list
> of bad events of 2020, I feel confident in saying that there are still
> probably some more people who simply haven't gotten around to confirming
> that they can be a porter.

I agree.  Most of my point is just that they should do that.  :)  Now's
the time.

> While I agree that i386 kernel support should be phased out, and might
> even need to be dropped altogether, I strongly disagree with the
> original premise of this thread, that all i386 support should be dropped
> for Bullseye.

I may be able to reassure you a bit there.  Someone pointing out that we
don't have enough confirmed resources for a port happens semi-regularly,
and the usual outcome is that enough resources step forward.  We're not
very eager to drop things that people want to support.  The point is to
prod people into stepping forward and volunteering for the things they
care about.

What's perhaps more significant is that i386 is now getting to the point
where it requires such prodding, instead of being an assumed default
architecture.  That means that the folks who care about it should probably
start thinking about building more organization and structure around the
work, recruiting people, building a task list, and so forth, instead of
just assuming "oh, everything will work on i386, it always has."
Volunteering to do that sort of coordination is helpful even if you aren't
debugging FTBFS problems.

Russ Allbery (rra@debian.org)              <https://www.eyrie.org/~eagle/>

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