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
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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