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Beginner questions / Emdebian on MIPS

Hello everyone,

I've heared about Emdebian a while ago and got interested in the
project, so I had a look at it during the weekend. I'm totally new to
the topic (as in "embedded system") but interested in the mechanisms,
efforts and workflows in this area. I do not have a concrete project
planned (yet), so I used Emdebian for playing around and learning. I had
some success and was very impressed by all the tools and how great they
worked! Kudos to everyone involved in the project, you did (and do!)
great work!

While playing around a few quesions came up for which I did not find
answers on the webpage or wiki and I hope you can answer them. I hope
those are not too stupid; as said, I'm totally new to the topic. So here
is what I did:

I first installed a MIPS toolchain as I wanted to use something not yet
supported in Emdebian. (As far as I know.) This may seem a little too
hard for beginning but I wanted to start from scratch. (And I'm
interested in MIPS as well.) The next step seemed to be to build the
packages needed for a rootfs. I used em_autobuild for that. I modified
the php files[1] to match my directory structure, so I could follow the
progress better. Of course em_automake failed at some point. The
problematic package was ncurses. I fixed it and put the patch file in
the location of the other patch files, named emdebian-something.patch.
The patch was not applied by emdebuild, though. I did so manually and
emdebuild successfully build the package. I ran the build again using
"em_autobuild -l --package ncurses" in order to get a build log created
that is usable by the php buildd pages but the package build failed; the
patch file was gone. I repeated this, and the behavior was the same, so
I guess that's intentional (or a bug). So my questions are:

1. Why did the patch file disappear? Does emdebuild clean the package
and only patches in the SVN survive? How can I keep them? Do I need a
SVN account or do I need some SVK mirror hackery?

2. Why did the patch not apply? (I guess because it was removed before
it could be applied.) Is it sufficient to name patches emdebian-* to get
them applied?

3. Some packages build by em_autobuild are necessary for other packages
to build, so I think I need to set up a local repository with
successfully build packages in order to get all packages of the rootfs
to build. Is em_autobuild able to "upload" packages into that
repository? If not, what is the currently used way to achieve this?

Thanks in advance and sorry for this rather lengthy email! If you think
Emdebian can benefit from what I did/do, then I'd be happy to support
you. Anyhow, as said, I'm quite unexperienced with that and not sure
whether anyone is interested in MIPS at all, so maybe it's nothing more
than an experiment. Anyhow, I'd fun so far! :)

Best regards

[1] I think I used the testing version, all paths were hard-coded. If
that's not fixed in the latest emdebian-tools, I could provide patches.

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