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Announcing an intention to produce an armeb port of Debian

1/ Who are we?
The Debonaras project (http://www.debonaras.org) is a group of Linux
developers who have created the beginnings of a big-endian ARM (armeb)
port of Debian.  We have built 2500+ stable packages so far (see
Debonaras is targeted primarily at consumer devices (such as the Linksys
NSLU2 or Synology DS101) with large attached storage (e.g. the ability
to attach a USB hard disk).  The first target device is the Linksys
NSLU2, and we have had big-endian arm Debian running on that device (and
building armeb Debian packages) for about a month now.  We also have
big-endian arm Debian running on other armeb devices (including custom
hardware built by a member of the core team).
2/ What are our plans?
Our plan is to compile at least 95% of Debian for armeb, to produce an
armeb debian-installer port, to put in place a set of buildd machines
that can keep up with unstable, to have a number of our core team
members become Debian Developers (we have two applications waiting for
an AM to be assigned) and then gain enough Debian Developer support to
put forward a proposal for an official armeb Debian port (and then
officially rebuild all the packages).  In essence, we plan to meet the
requirements set out in
http://lists.debian.org/debian-devel-announce/2005/08/msg00009.html and
then hope to be assimilated by Debian.
Most of the core Debonaras developers come from the NSLU2-Linux project
3/ What is the potential user base for an armeb port of Debian?
The NSLU2-Linux project has over 4300 subscribers on the mailing list,
attracts over 30000 hits on the http://www.nslu2-linux.org website per
day, has provided over 12000 custom firmware downloads in the last three
months, and manages two package download systems (one for the
vendor-firmware-compatible 2.4 kernel custom firmware, and the other for
the OpenEmbedded-based 2.6 kernel custom firmware) which serve up
400GB/month of package downloads from four mirrors across the world). 
Every one of those 12000 custom firmware downloads is a potential user
of an armeb Debian port, just for the single NSLU2 device.
4/ Why do we want to port Debian to big-endian ARM?
The NSLU2 bootloader starts the kernel in big-endian mode, and the
on-board ethernet driver modules currently also run in big-endian mode. 
A number of our developers have other reasons (related to networking
performance of other ixp-based non-consumer devices) for requiring an
armeb port.
Note that there has already been success in targeting little-endian arm
Debian to the NSLU2, but it requires additional hardware (it currently
doesn't support the on-board ethernet port).
5/ How does this relate to Emdebian?
We are in contact with a number of Debian Developers from debian-arm,
and have discussed our plans with Wookey from Emdebian.  We believe that
Debonaras targets a different set of devices from Emdebian (Debonaras
intends to provide a full port of Debian targeting devices with large
attached storage).
6/ Why are we announcing this now?
We are not looking for publicity (please don't post this to slashdot). 
We do want to make the Debian developer community aware of what we are
doing.  We are looking for help from interested Debian Developers to get
a buildd system up and running and building the rest of the Debian
packages from source for armeb.
7/ How do I install Debian on my NSLU2 today?
See http://www.nslu2-linux.org/wiki/DebianSlug/OpenDebianSlug
8/ What does "Debonaras" stand for?
Debian On NAS And Routers And Stuff
-- Signed, the Debonaras and NSLU2-Linux core team. 

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