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Emulated buildds (for SCC architectures)?


I haven't followed as thoroughly as I would have liked the recent
verborrhea in the list regarding the Vancouver proposal. Anyway, I'd
like to raise a point that I brought up during Debconf3, in the light
of the changes that we are now facing.

Most (although not all) of the architectures facing being downgraded
are older, slower hardware, and cannot be readily found. Their build
speed is my main argument against John Goerzen's proposal [1]. Now, I
understand that up to now we have had the requirement of the builds
running in the real hardware. 

Nowadays, an i386 system emulating a m68k (using either UAE or
Basilisk2) is at least comparable to the fastest m68k system ever
produced. I have worked with both emulators, and both seem completely
safe - Yes, I know we cannot run Debian on a regular UAE because of
the lack of a MMU in the official package, but we _can_ run it inside

A completely different problem with the same results arises when using
s390 machines: As someone noted recently, most of us cannot afford
having a s390 running in the basement. But AFAICT, Hercules is a quite
usable s390 emulator.

And I am sure we can find more examples like these - I have not really
checked, but I would be surprised if architectures as popular as
Sparc, Alpha or ARM wouldn't have an emulator (although probably not
currently as reliable as those two).

Now, if we face dropping one or more of our architectures (i.e. m68k)
because new hardware can not be found anymore (the Vancouver proposal
mentions that "the release architecture must be publicly available to
buy new" in order to keep it as a fully supported architecture - I
know, SCC != fully supported, but anyway, a buildd can die and create
huge problems to a port), why shouldn't we start accepting buildds
running under emulated machines?


[1] http://lists.debian.org/debian-devel/2005/03/msg01387.html

Gunnar Wolf - gwolf@gwolf.org - (+52-55)1451-2244 / 5554-9450
PGP key 1024D/8BB527AF 2001-10-23
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