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Multi-Arch will kill dpkg-cross

In the days when we had the horrors of apt-cross, there was a theory
about how Multi-Arch might work and how that might affect both
apt-cross and dpkg-cross. This theory turns out to be wrong.

So, the Wiki has been updated and the dpkg-cross package will change
behaviour once the current version has migrated into Wheezy.

Multi-Arch packages are easy for dpkg-cross to recognise correctly and
Multi-Arch packages won't arrive in the main Debian archive until dpkg
in Debian is capable of handling such packages. This means that dpkg
will need to be able to install a 32bit Multi-Arch package alongside a
64bit Multi-Arch package on the same system. As this is no different,
from a Multi-Arch perspective, to installing an armel package
alongside an x86 package, there is no need for dpkg-cross to support a
transitional state.

-cross packages will simply die out.

Multi-Arch packages will be left untouched by dpkg-cross (if
dpkg-cross is given a path, the original file is copied to the current
directory without conversion so that it remains available for

Part of this transition will be that the migrations to Multi-Arch will
necessarily break things if packages are converted to Multi-Arch
before the build-dependencies and runtime dependencies of the same
package. Hence, -cross packages will disappear from the ground up.

There will then come a point where particular builds will only have a
few non-Multi-Arch packages left and maintainers can be nagged to
convert these few. some of the config data in dpkg-cross can then be
migrated into dpkg and dpkg-cross can be removed from Debian.

Naturally, xapt will disappear with dpkg-cross and pdebuild-cross will
be converted to simply make the toolchains available inside a pbuilder
chroot - if that step turns out to still be necessary by the time
Multi-Arch is at this stage.

We now have a route to a sane cross-building platform without poorly
hacked -cross packages.


Neil Williams

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