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Portable dpkg - archtable

[I am looking into porting dpkg to a non-linux platforms (Solaris and
 IRIX); this is a question that arose in the process.]

As I understand it, the archtable is supposed to hold lists of binary
architectures, such as i386 and sparc. 

This is all fine for a debian system (whether on intel or sparc)
because we can rely on the package system to keep an eye on
dependencies that a package may have, so that the architecture concept
need only capture whether the processor is capable of executing the
code or not.

But if I want to use dpkg on a non-debian system, to maintain my local
installations such as gcc or emacs, I have a problem because a rather
large part of the system (such as standard include files or X
libraries) typically is outside the (debian) package system control.

Using the config.guess value (as in `mips-sgi-irix6.2') as
architecture isn't really a solution, both because that value does
*not* capture binary compability (my workstation runs IRIX 6.2 and has
a R4600 processor (mips2 instruction set), but we have also R5000
processors (mips3) running IRIX 6.2)), and because IRIX6.2 can be many
things depending on what graphic card the machine have or which
patches has been put on.

Again, I am not sure there really is a problem. I guess my suggestion
is to keep the archtable the way it is (recording strict binary
compability only) and then leave the problem of maintaining the
necessary requirements to the brave person trying to survive in a
two-package environment. 

But I would still like to present the issue to the list, before I
start hacking away.

Christian Lynbech          | Computer Science Department, University of Aarhus
Office: R0.32              | Ny Munkegade, Building 540, DK-8000 Aarhus C
Phone: +45 8942 3218       | lynbech@daimi.aau.dk -- www.daimi.aau.dk/~lynbech
Hit the philistines three times over the head with the Elisp reference manual.
                                        - petonic@hal.com (Michael A. Petonic)

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