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Re: Slightly OT: They're forcing me to install Red Hat

On Wed, 18 Jun 2003 10:35, David Lawn wrote:
> While we're sort of on the topic of Database management systems on Debian,
> what have people's experiences with sapdb been like? As from what I
> understand sapdb is direct competition for oracle and is free.

SapDB is not in Debian.  The reason for this is that (as of last time I 
checked) it was impossible to compile SapDB using open-source software.  They 
had their own programs performing comparable functions to "make" which were 
binary-only.  These programs only ran on i386 which meant that SapDB could 
not be easily built for other CPUs (some Nokia people apparently described a 
way of solving this problem at FOSDEM 2003, but it was not easy).

The fact that the main source of SapDB is free means that it could probably go 
into non-free, but it can't go into main until it can be built with free 
tools.  Also it can't go into main until it can be built on non-i386 machines 
(the Nokia solution relies on a build cluster of i386 and non-i386 machines 
with NFS cross-mounts - none of the Debian servers have this and AFAIK we 
have no plans to offer it).

The Nokia solution involves using the binfmt-misc kernel option and NFS cross 
mounting so that /usr/src and /home are the same on all machines.  Then when 
you try to execute a non-native binary the kernel (via binfmt-misc) will ssh 
or rsh to a machine of the appropriate architecture and run the program.  For 
building SapDB you could have the build start on a PPC CPU, run the "make" 
type program on i386, which then runs the real compile on the PPC machine 
again.  It's ugly, but it should work.

However this sort of thing is ugly enough (and needlessly ugly - SAP could 
just use a autoconf or open-source their Make program) that it caused me to 
not want to put SapDB in Debian.  I expect that other Debian developers also 
examined the SapDB situation and came to the same conclusion as me for the 
same reasons.

If the situation has changed then it would be really good to get SapDB in 
Debian, but I don't have time for it any more.

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