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Is emsandbox useful anymore?

I'm considering dropping emsandbox in favour of multistrap.


1. emsandbox relies on debootstrap but is not used in the way that
debootstrap is designed to be used (inside an installer). Instead it is
used in environments where apt and dpkg are known to already be working
(apt is a dependency of emdebian-rootfs). There seems to be little
reason to continue using debootstrap instead of multistrap which is
far simpler to maintain and far more flexible in use.

2. emsandbox machine:variant support can be reimplemented (arguably
more flexibly) with multistrap.

3. the debootstrap underpinnings of emsandbox are simply bust. The old
method of adding packages to a static file in /usr/share/ is a poor
model and multistrap provides a much better method of having userspace
config files where only the extra packages are listed explicitly and
apt is used to get the missing dependencies.
The /usr/share/emdebian-tools/emdebian.gpe suite scripts need to be
fixed or replaced. Multistrap is immune to those problems.


1. Drop emdebian-rootfs as a source and binary package name , rename as
multistrap and massively simplify the dependencies. (em_multistrap
would disappear, just a single binary called /usr/sbin/multistrap
because the code is just as capable of native and cross usage without
further changes.)

2. Migrate some files into emdebian-tools - the state of the toolchains
makes it hard to see how to fix the empdebuild script that uses the
other half of emdebian-rootfs (which supported empdebuild). AFAICT it
isn't possible for empdebuild --create to complete without manual

3. Start to strip out scripts like 'emsetup' and 'emchain' which are
also fairly broken. These scripts won't survive the removal of
apt-cross and, again, AFAICT don't actually complete at the moment
anyway. This takes the guts out of the emdebian-tools top-level
package, putting the emphasis on emdebian-buildsupport. In effect,
emdebian-buildsupport would become the principal package and
emdebian-tools would contain some minor extras. If it's deemed
worthwhile, I could rename both packages, emdebian-tools could become a
virtual package with a new emdebian-extras package or we could drop
scripts like embug or those could move into emdebian-qa. There are
other parts of emdebian-tools and emdebian-buildsupport that need to be
removed too - emdebhelper.mk and em_make are no longer useful compared
to doing the tasks later via emgrip.


Neil Williams

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