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Bug#766708: supported GCC based cross compilers in Debian

On Wed, Nov 26, 2014 at 03:29:43PM +0100, Matthias Klose wrote:
> Contrary to some claims in this thread there never was any commitment
> by myself to support the ability to rely on dependencies on foreign
> architectures within the Debian archive.  The person claiming this is
> plain wrong.  Please use the standard way for cross building packages
> for the rebootstrap project.  The rebootstrap project uses local
> patches anyway, so in the short term it shouldn't be a problem to keep
> track of the packaging.  In the long term, please use the supported
> way to do staged builds and cross builds of the GCC packages.

My view on this is only slightly different: I do not want patches in
rebootstrap that are not upstream-able. The whole point of rebootstrap
is upstreaming everything and making rebootstrap empty. In this sense,
rebootstrap is not out of archive and rather a staging area for things
to go into the archive. I do agree with moving to the standard way in a
long term (whatever standard means by then).

> Some background and history. [...]

Thank you very much. It was an enlightening read for me.

> This shouldn't be news to the contributors within this thread. I
> mentioned this at least at the two last DebConf's, plus at Linaro
> Connect's, and during the bootstrap sprint in July (Paris), but
> apparently there seems to be temporary or permanent distortion of
> perception.

I have to admit that I did not understand the importance of this matter
at the time of the bootstrap sprint and was assuming that I had more
time to do the switch for rebootstrap.

> Earlier this year, and last time at the bootstrap sprint in Paris,
> Wookey committed to work on the cross-toolchain-base package (this
> package isolates the bootstrap process and builds binary cross glibc
> packages).  I hope other participants of the bootstrap sprint can
> confirm that this commitment was made.

It was agreed that in-archive cross toolchains should be developed. Even
at that time, there was disagreement as to which method to use as can be
seen in the sprint report in section 3.13.

> Then nothing happened. I
> can't remember that he said anything about a change of mind during
> DebConf.  The big surprise then came when Wookey was uploading
> initially six cross toolchain packages to unstable without saying
> anything, without having worked on the cross-toolchain-base packages
> at any time.  You may call this politics, or tactics, however I call
> this sneaking in these packages, and his communication behaviour as
> plain XXing (somebody mentioned I should just call this "not telling
> the truth").  At this point I decided to remove the unsupported cross
> build support, and then was accused on irc by Wookey "But ultimately I
> don't think a cross-gcc maintiner can operate if the gcc maintainer is
> actively working against him",

I'm sad that it went this way. There were a few points where I could
have mediated, but I failed to understand the importance of this matter
at that time.

> and Helmut complaining "I would not
> have forwarded this issue to the tc if Matthias had not combined the
> bad timing with an absence of advance notice". But sorry I must have
> missed the absence of advance notice for the cross build uploads and
> the notice of dropping the work on the cross-toolchain-base packages.
> This is a reaction, not an action.

I think you mean s/(missed the) absence of/\1/. At least it makes more
sense with that negation removed. It may be a reaction to Wookey's cross
toolchain uploads, but it has undesired effects on others (e.g. me, Ron,
Sam). I do not want to deny that these uploads do have problems.

> In the meantime there is some progress from Adam Conrad, Dimitri
> Ledkov and my side on the cross-toolchain-base package. Both Wookey
> and Helmut Grohne were CCed on these efforts but they choose to stay
> quiet.

My reasons for not participating in the cross-toolchain-base package
 * I did not understand the urgency of this matter.
 * I voiced fundamental concerns with the cross-toolchain-base approach
   earlier. Since I never found anyone to explain why I was wrong and
   why the approach really is better, I felt that I could not contribute
   to this effort (failing to see the big picture). Then, I thought, I
   could inspect the result and discover the answers for myself.
(That the actual concerns are beyond the scope of this bug, because it
only asks for a longer transition period.)

> At this point I don't think it will make sense to work together
> with Wookey if he keeps behaving like this.  I'll submit another issue
> to the CTTE about the cross toolchain packages in Debian, about
> completeness and maintainership.

I would say that this is a bit too early. To the best of my
understanding, the ctte can only choose among existing solutions. Since
your submission seems to only talk about future developments it seems to
me that there is nothing to choose from.

> I don't mind getting help maintaining GCC in Debian, however this
> shouldn't be limited leaving an odour signature in the packaging, but
> involves interaction with upstream, test rebuilds, bug submissions,
> bug triage and many more.  The involvement of Helmut Grohne and Wookey
> with these tasks is very close to zero.

I'm sorry, if my contributions to the packaging are too small to be
useful. I feel that I cannot reasonably commit to doing more though.


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