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Who decides arch names?

On Wed, Jun 02, 2004 at 05:51:26PM -0300, Scott James Remnant wrote:
> The archive name that has been chosen is "x86-64", which I understand
> might upset a few people who like the other name.
> As I've been at DebConf 4, it provided the ideal place to discuss the
> architecture name in person with many people from the different Debian
> teams including some of your own porters.

This, I think, is a really poor substitute for discussion on the proper
mailing lists.  I think it is deeply wrong to exclude people's input in
such a major change simply because they are not at Debconf.  To many
here, this appears as a dictum foisted on us from someone that has not
been ever charged with determining architecture naming.  I believe the
choice lies with ftpmaster, not a dpkg committer.

Not only that, but why force this change on us now?  The patches have
been out there for months, and could have been integrated before we had
such a substantial package base that will be broken.  Why is there this
almost maniacal aversion to working together?  Why could you not have
opened a discussion on debian-amd64 a month ago, or even last week?

> The advantages of this name are:
>   * it matches the GNU arch string
>   * it matches the name chosen by RedHat, Fedora and SuSE

Though not Gentoo, NetBSD, FreeBSD, Mandrake, Shark, etc.

>   * it doesn't include unnecessary marketing connotations, and avoids
>     the issue whether we even *can* use AMD's name in vain

I fail to see how mentioning the name of an architecture is using
unnecessary marketing connotations.  Perhaps we ought to make these

sparc -> s32
alpha -> a64
powerpc -> ibmp
i386 -> ia32

> The disadvantages are:
>   * it isn't what you have been using to-date

Which is a serious disadvantage and should have been discussed before
taking such a drastic decision.

In fact, Debian's list *used* to be debian-x86-64 but was renamed to
debian-amd64 as discussed at

>   * it doesn't *quite* match the others "x86-64" vs. "x86_64"

Which is also a serious problem that is going to lead to endless

> The first issue is simply a matter of rebuilding, which shouldn't take
> too long relatively.  Your patches and fixes will still all work,
> hopefully.

*simply* is somewhat of an overstatement.  Are you aware of the effort
required to bootstrap a new Debian arch?

Plenty of packages rely on dpkg architecture information, and this
almost certainly wil break packages.

> The second is due to "_" being used as a filename separator; I'd like to
> investigate what actually *relies* on this and potentially change the
> architecture at a later date (still before archive addition) to x86_64
> to totally match the others -- we'll see how that plays out.

Pick something and stick with it.  Don't make us change twice.

What I'm really upset about here is that this is a major decision that
was taken without even attempting to gather input on the lists.  If the
consensus was to rename it, fine, but no attempt at gathering info was
made on your part.  You should immediately s/x86-64/amd64/ in the dpkg
tree and only change it back after discussion here.

-- John

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