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Re: Bug#482902: please provide libc6-hppa64 and libc6-hppa64-dev packages

On Sun, May 25, 2008 at 06:55:58PM -0600, Matthew Wilcox wrote:
> Does it really have porters dedicated to maintaining it?
> http://wiki.debian.org/hppaLennyReleaseRecertification
> The Debian port is maintained by the following developers, who actively
> work on architecture specific issues:
>    1.  KyleMcMartin
>    2.  ThibautVarene
>    3. ...
>    4. ...
>    5. ... 

Good point. HPPA has done a crappy job of recruiting DDs.

> I have a fairly good idea what Kyle's been doing recently.  What have
> you done for the hppa port recently?

I'd prefer to see a constructive dialog instead of quibbling.
FTR, I happen to know Thibaut is maintaining (and gave public access) to hppa
machines for other DDs. Given the unstability of most kernel releases on
hppa, that's not as trivial as it should be.

> Does anybody else intend to step up to be porter 3, 4 and 5?

I offer to mentor any DDs interested in helping hppa port.
Working on a !x86 port is a fun way to learn something about the
kernel and RISC architecture.  Please contact me off list.

> The developer machines have been unavailable for months, so Debian
> developers who don't have their own hppa machine are unable to work on
> their own packages or fix bugs.

We had some machines setup and running last year....what happened to them?
Is lamont the only person able to support those?

My impression was my and Thibaut's efforts to provide public access
to parisc/ia64 machines has covered the visible need.
But that's been informal and not a substitute for having official
machines up and running. And of course we don't know if anyone just
didn't bother to report issues because the official debian
machines were down.

> The port has been coasting for several years now and things are
> gradually rotting.
> Do we put a stake in the corpse now, or make an effort to fix some bugs?

I agree.

parisc-linux no longer has a "mission". IMHO, ditching the CVS tree 
might have been necessary several years ago but the replacement
(kyle's parisc-2.6 git tree) hasn't been as effective. Not because
of Kyle. One lesser reason is parisc-2.6 is not advertised or
documented on www.parisc-linux.org.  The stale website is another
symptom of the same problem.
See http://www.parisc-linux.org/kernel/index.html .

Much of the previous work happened because HP sponsored it or HP employees
had an interest in contributing to it. Of that group, most no longer
work for HP and only a few spend more than a few hours per week
working on parisc-linux issues.

I'm as guilty as much as anyone since I left HP.
The sad fact is most of the original "core group" was paid to work
on hppa and now have other priorities (a few still keep tabs on
parisc-linux or debian-hppa).

Personally, on _average_, I'm only able to spend 2-3h per week on
parisc. That goes to maintaining a test cluster (still hosted by HP!),
tulip driver bug fixing, reviewing/testing code changes by others,
and occasionally finding time to build/test current kernels.

And like kyle, I have several projects I've started but just didn't
have time to finish (e.g. disable pa8800 L2 cache).  It sucks.
And because of that, I've starting to think that if not enough
people care, it's not worth doing. It hurts. But that's why I
agree with willy.

For now, I'm will continue to put time into parisc-linux.
Perhaps even if debian reduces hppa to second class citizen.
It would certainly change the priorities of how parisc is
supported and perhaps I'll have time to experiment with the
things I'm more interested in.


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