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Emdebian TDebs

The Debian TDeb draft specification is now available:

Debian TDebs are progressing and a few changes will be filtering into
Emdebian TDebs.

First, we will have two forms of TDebs - TDebs for Emdebian Grip that
are to be more closely related to Debian TDebs because of some of the
features of Debian TDebs. This change will be done as a transition -
Emdebian Grip will start with the current Emdebian TDebs and migrate to
a slightly different solution based on Debian TDebs once support
becomes available in Debian testing (Squeeze). This transition will be
transparent as far as installations are concerned, with the possible
exception that installations of Emdebian Grip will have slightly more
translations installed after the transition (e.g. pt_BR as well as pt).
Emdebian Crush will stick with the current Emdebian TDebs (because
Crush is built/cross-built, not repacked).

It gets a bit complex but this is the flow:

1. Until the proposed changes are available in dpkg in Debian testing,
things stay as they are - Grip and Crush use the same TDebs.

2. There are inherent problems with sharing TDebs across different
distributions with different package requirements, hence Grip will
migrate to a derivative of Debian TDebs as that support becomes

3. Once support is available, Emdebian Grip will migrate to
architecture-independent TDebs, using the support in the Debian TDeb
file format to split out Emdebian Grip TDebs on a per-locale-root
basis. This maintains a closer link with Debian whilst making the most
of the inherent power of the new Debian TDeb file format and acting as
a testing ground for the development of tools within Debian that will
be able to handle Debian TDebs in Debian.

4. The experimental TDeb source package created by em_installtdeb will
disappear - a separate wrapper will be made to support translation
modes, within Debian.

5. Emdebian Grip will migrate to having all translations for supported
locale roots - Crush will remain with translations only for supported
locales. This means that Grip will gain pt as well as pt_BR even if only
pt_BR is selected, etc. This is a consequence of the switch to
the Debian TDeb format and is not expected to add any significant
amounts of data. It will add significant improvements in the processing
of Emdebian Grip itself.

6. Debian TDebs will still be stripped of documentation (translated and
untranslated) as well as translated manpages during the process of
conversion to Emdebian Grip.

7. Overall, the two setups will provide testing grounds for a variety
of tools that will find uses in Debian after the release of Debian
Squeeze. It's just that Emdebian will have them first, for once.

Finally, the delays in releasing Lenny mean that I am expecting to make
an Emdebian Grip release alongside Lenny, as well as Emdebian Crush for
ARM. I do not expect to have sufficient time to add any more
architectures to Crush before Lenny but Grip is infinitely easier to
provide and I expect to be able to provide arm, armel, i386, amd64,
powerpc, mips and mipsel. (Grip architectures must exist in Debian
before being available in Grip, so uClibc support is quite a long way
away, mipsen might not be attainable). Grip for amd64 exists for test
purposes mainly and because it is trivial to add and test it. Emdebian
Grip (based on Debian 5.0 "Lenny") will, necessarily, release with the
same TDebs as Emdebian Crush.

If that isn't clear, let me know.



Neil Williams

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