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Re: Porter roll call for Debian Stretch

On 10/01/2016 02:17 PM, Ben Hutchings wrote:
>> This isn't the case for PowerPC32 where upstream development is still very
>> active because it's part of the PowerPC kernel which is maintained by
>> IBM.
> This is not at all true.  My experience is that IBM doesn't even build-
> test 32-bit configurations, as evidenced by several stable updates
> causing FTBFS in Debian.

They care enough that they are fixing bugs. Just recently, a bug in the
PowerPC kernel was fixed that affected 32-bit embedded PowerPCs only.

>> PowerPC32 is also still quite popular which is why it still sees
>> quite some testing in the wild. There are still new PowerPC32 designs
>> based on embedded CPUs (FreeScale and the like).
> Which are very different from the Power Macs and similar platforms that
> most Debian powerpc users care about.

According to popcon, there are 250 users running a 32-bit kernel:


And a little more than 100 users running a 64-bit BE kernel:


And around 16 users running a 64-bit LE kernel:


While you may be right that IBM is not actively testing powerpc32, bugs are
still getting fixed and code is improved in general as you can see with the
many mails sent to linuxppc-dev with "powerpc32" in the subject.

>> As for SPARC, Oracle is actually now heavily investing in Linux SPARC
>> support, so even SPARC is getting back into shape which is why I hope
>> we can add sparc64 as an official port soon.
> [...]
> Oracle cares about Solaris on SPARC, not Linux on SPARC.

Well, then you know more than the people at Oracle that I am talking to. However,
in case this statement is based on outdated information, here are two related

In fall 2015, Oracle announced Linux for SPARC which is a first reference
platform to be used as a basis for SPARC development in the future:

> https://oss.oracle.com/projects/linux-sparc/

And just recently, Oracle just announced their first product which runs
Linux on SPARC hardware:

> http://vanpupi.stepi.net/index.php/2016/09/20/welcome-exadata-sl6-2/

Also, when you look at the sparclinux LKML archives, you will see that most
patches are contributed by Oracle people these days:

> http://marc.info/?l=linux-sparc&r=1&b=201609&w=2

This isn't surprising as Oracle is actively ramping up Linux support for
SPARC. They have developers all over the world who are being paid to work
on the kernel and on the toolchain. Just recently, Eric Snowberg from
Oracle contributed lots of code to GRUB to make it support SPARC so users
can switch from SILO. Lots of the stuff hasn't been merged yet unfortunately.

According to my sources that Oracle - as you may or may not know, I'm quite
involved with people from Oracle directly, so I can probably claim I'm the
person in Debian who can say most about Linux on SPARC these days - there
many more patches that Oracle developers have already prepared but not merged
yet but will be in the near future.

If Oracle didn't invest so much in Linux on SPARC with the result of so many
improvements coming along, I would have never suggested to make sparc64
a Debian release architecture in the future.

PS: I will be meeting up with Oracle people at LinuxCon next week in Berlin
    and therefore hopefully be able to make some progress regarding the
    talks with them over hardware donations/loans to Debian.


 .''`.  John Paul Adrian Glaubitz
: :' :  Debian Developer - glaubitz@debian.org
`. `'   Freie Universitaet Berlin - glaubitz@physik.fu-berlin.de
  `-    GPG: 62FF 8A75 84E0 2956 9546  0006 7426 3B37 F5B5 F913

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