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Bits from the Debian riscv64 porters

Hello dear developers,

As you may have noticed, the riscv64 architecture has been promoted in
recent days from Debian-ports to the main Debian archive and

As the Release Managers mentioned in their recent bits after the release
of Bookworm [1], the expectation is to be in a position to ship Trixie
with riscv64 support (subject to architecture qualification later in the
cycle, as usual).

Here are some highlights and a bit of information in a nutshell.  For
more details, refer to the wiki page [2].

[1] https://lists.debian.org/debian-devel-announce/2023/06/msg00001.html
[2] https://wiki.debian.org/RISC-V

Bootstrap in progress

As part of becoming an official architecture, the established procedure
is to rebootstrap the port from a minimal set of packages.  This process
has just started, that's why the sid and experimental suites are almost
empty, and many packages that were available before (when in
debian-ports) now appear as "BD-Uninstallable" in wanna-build.

The build daemons have already started to build packages for the
official archive, and on our side we will concentrate on breaking
build-dependency loops and fix FTBFS problems of packages in the
critical paths.

In order to make this process as smooth as possible, we would like to
ask you:

- Please help us by merging related patches that are available in the
  BTS promptly.  They might not be directly related to riscv64, but can
  be a more general problem like a FTBFS due to the switch to GCC 13 as
  the default compiler.

- Please do not to disable any features in your packages due to the
  unavailability of specific build-dependencies in riscv64, they should
  come back at some point in the next weeks.

- Unless explicitly asked by the porters, please refrain from uploading
  manually built packages to the archive.

- In general any help understanding, debugging or fixing
  riscv64-specific issues are welcome.  You might want to use the
  porterbox for that (see below).

During the bootstrap process, the debian-ports archive is still
accessible; however, it will no longer receive updates, except (in very
few exceptions) if it's to help with the rebootstrapping of the main

Build daemons

The current build daemons consist in 9 HiFive Unmatched boards,
graciously hosted at OSUOSL [3] and MAN-DA [4].

While this should be sufficient to keep up with the port, we are aware
that the build time for some packages is quite important.  We are
actively working on acquiring next generation RISC-V hardware, it is
however challenging to get hardware that matches the requirements [5],
especially being supported by the mainline Linux kernel.  However, we
are optimistic that it will happen before the release of Trixie, and we
already have identified a few promising candidates.

Once the initial rebootstrap is done, the current build daemons will be
handed over to DSA.  Until then, the packages are now manually signed,
so it's normal if they stay a few hours in "Built" state before getting

[3] https://osuosl.org/
[4] https://www.man-da.de/
[5] https://dsa.debian.org/ports/hardware-requirements/


The current porterbox [6] is also based on an HiFive Unmatched board.
It is available to Debian Developers to help debugging riscv64 issues.

The porterbox includes two sets of chroots:

- The chroot for the official archive are called 'sid' and
  'experimental' and are regularly updated, however a limited number of
  packages are currently available.

- The original debian-ports archive chroots are called 'sid-dp' and
  'experimental-dp', and are no longer updated.  However it can still be
  a valuable resource for debugging issues that were identified before
  the rebootstrap process started.  They will eventually be removed.

[6] https://db.debian.org/machines.cgi?host=debian-riscv64-porterbox-01


We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who contributed
to this significant milestone, including individuals (too many to
mention) and Debian teams, as well as the organizations and companies
that provided us with resources (by rough chronological order):

  OSU Open Source Lab
  Microsemi (now Microchip)
  BeagleBoard.org Foundation
  RISC-V international,
  Metropolitan Area Network Darmstadt

On behalf of the Debian riscv64 porters

Manuel A. Fernandez Montecelo <manuel.montezelo@gmail.com>

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