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Re: MIPS port backlog, autobuilder machines and some arrogance

[ Responding to this since I've been BCCed. ]

* Ingo Juergensmann <ij@2003.bluespice.org> [2003-11-14 11:34]:
> I´ve been told that this is caused by some toolchain and kernel
> problems on mips that make the buildds running slow.

I talked to Ryan about the mips port about two weeks ago; I'll try to
summarize the information he gave me.  The kernel problem you refer to
is that the kernel does not use the secondary cache of the chips.
Another problem is that one machine (hosted by Flo in Germany) only
has 64 MB RAM.  Apparently, Flo has more RAM, though; otherwise, I
have recently been given some RAM which I'll send him once I'll be
back in Europe (in December).

The major problem why mips is not keeping up, however, is that the
hard drive of a build machine in the States died recently.
Unfortunately, this machine is much faster than the other machines in
use.  I am trying to get a new hard drive for this machine, but
unfortunately the hardware donations manager is currently on vacation
and hasn't responded to my mail yet; we might just buy one if he
doesn't respond soon.  Alternatively, in anyone is reading this who
can spare a SCSI disk (in the States, for an Indy, see
http://sgistuff.g-lenerz.de/machines/indy.html), please get in
contact.  This would help to improve the situation drastically.

> Everything went well with that machine - until we directed the
> request to debian-admin to get wanna-build access for mips. The
> request was rejected with the following reasons (to my knowledge):
> - another machine is in the works
> - we don´t need your machine

Yes, a fairly powerful machine has recently been donated to Debian and
we're currently working out where to host it.  Also, I have been in
contact with SGI to get a very powerful system which should solve this
problem for a long time.  However, I am still working on this.

I also offered Ryan to get a temporary system online, but he told me
not to bother unless it's a very high performance system.  IIUC, it
takes some time to get it set up as a buildd, etc.

In any case, your offer is welcome, and I think we can make use of it,
albeit in a different way.  You could make the box available to
various Debian people.  For example, the XFree86 maintainer is looking
for someone to try building the current version in experimental on
mips.  That would be a great way your machine could be used.

In any case, the situation is known and solutions are being worked on.
Help is definitely appreciated.  Also, while we are covering this
topic, let me mention that mips is not a "door stop" architecture.
While most machines which were _very_ powerful in the past are fairly
dated now (e.g. SGI Indy), mips CPUs are actively being developed.
There are CPUs with 2 cores and > 1 GHz frequency.

> As a result and a sort of protest, I´ll stopped my m68k buildd,
> because I don´t know m68k that much to be of any help for this port
> anymore.

A m68k has indicated that your machine is helpful for the m68k port,
so I urge you to reconsider this decision.

Martin Michlmayr

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