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Packages-arch-specific (was: Sparc build failure analysis)

Steve Langasek <vorlon@debian.org> writes:
> On Sat, Dec 10, 2005 at 06:53:47AM -0800, Blars Blarson wrote:

>> Again: what can I do with such a list?  See the list below.

> Changes to the P-a-s list should be sent to the contacts listed at the top
> of this file (http://buildd.debian.org/quinn-diff/Packages-arch-specific).

I have to admit that this is the one area of the buildds that I've found a
little frustrating and/or confusing due to lack of communication.

I co-maintain openafs, which builds a variety of arch-specific packages
plus an arch-independent package with the kernel module source.  OpenAFS
upstream does not support arm, m68k, mips, or mipsel.  It's highly
unlikely that it will *ever* support those architectures; the kernel
integration is non-trivial to do, and I've never heard from users of those
architectures who are particularly missing AFS.  (AFS is a little
heavy-weight for the sorts of things that people usually do on those
architectures, I think.)

Now, the openafs package does immediately fail with a reasonable error
message on the unsupported architectures and tags all the binary packages
as only being applicable to supported arches, but it feels like a waste,
every time I upload a new openafs package, for it to go into those
architecture queues, make the buildds download and install all the
dependencies, and start trying to build, only to have it fail.  It's
always going to fail, I know it's always going to fail, and while this
isn't a huge waste of resources, it's at least a little waste.

So I followed the instructions at the top of that file and requested a
P-a-s entry, after asking people here what to do.  No response.  Hm.  I
wasn't sure what to make of that -- maybe this request is too trivial to
bother with, it's fine for the builds to fail, and I should just ignore
it?  Or maybe my e-mail wasn't received?  Or maybe I misunderstood
something and this was the wrong channel or the wrong thing to do?

I waited a while (my saved mail says two months) and asked my AM about it.
He said that mailing them again was probably the right thing to do.  So I
went ahead and did that, providing the specific entry that I think should
be used.  No response (that was in August).  However, I notice in the
build report that m68k is now marking openafs as "not for us" (but the
other arches aren't).  Is this because of my mail?  Because the buildd
administrator noticed the error message?

This is a really minor issue in the grand scheme of things.  It's not RC,
it doesn't break anything, it's really mostly cosmetic plus a minor
resource waste.  Now I'm feeling kind of guilty about bothering clearly
busy people with a trivial request, and I probably really shouldn't send
this message to debian-devel either, since certainly it's not any kind of
serious problem that this hasn't been done.

But I really want to learn.  I want to understand what the right thing to
do is.  It kind of bugs my (probably overactive) sense of neatness to see
openafs sit in those build queues and then fail rather than cleanly being
skipped.  If I should just stop bugging people, I'm happy to do that, but
I'd heard from a few other people who seemed experienced that this is what
I should do, so it would be nice to get a message that explicitly says
"stop bugging us."  Or, well, anything.  Certainly I don't expect such a
message even within a month for this sort of low-priority request; it
takes me that long to get to my mail too.  But....

Maybe the right thing to do would be to work out a way for package
maintainers to provide input to their own P-a-s entries in some sort of
automated fashion?  It does seem like a package maintainer is generally
going to know this sort of thing, and I hate to bother busy buildd
maintainers with this kind of thing if I could do it myself.

Russ Allbery (rra@debian.org)               <http://www.eyrie.org/~eagle/>

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