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Re: Emulated buildds (for SCC architectures)?

On Fri, Mar 18, 2005 at 08:06:47PM -0600, Gunnar Wolf wrote:
> Hi,
> 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
> Basilisk2. 

A much faster solution would be to use distcc or scratchbox for

> 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).

ARM is supported by both qemu and scratchbox, so you could do a cross
compiling buildd without needing actual ARM hardware (scratchbox
normally uses a target board to run generated binaries during the
buildprocess, but it can also use qemu). OTOH Intel's IOP Xscale series
is quite fast and there are faster ARMs coming, so it's probably not
necessary to use crosscompiling to keep up.

Alpha and Sparc should be fast enough to keep up. 

> 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?

If you don't tell people, how would they know ? :)


Peter (p2).

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