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Re: amd64 as default architecture

On Sun, 2012-05-20 at 11:27 +0200, Goswin von Brederlow wrote:
> Ben Hutchings <ben@decadent.org.uk> writes:
> > Most new PCs have an Intel or AMD 64-bit processor, and
> > popcon.debian.org shows amd64 numbers almost matching i386.
> >
> > For some time we have also provided the amd64 kernel for i386, identical
> > in all but the package metadata.  This has not always been perfectly
> > compatible with i386 userland, but split 32/64-bit installations are
> > increasingly used and I think most bugs have been flushed out by now.
> > Thanks to multi-arch you can now add amd64 as a secondary architecture
> > and install the kernel package from amd64, and if your system is running
> > such a kernel then it can also support userland packages from amd64.
> >
> > So in wheezy I would like to see:
> > 1. Default architecture (top of the list for installation media/manual)
> > being amd64 ('64-bit PC').
> Default image could be multiple archs. We had i386/amd64/ppc DVD images
> in the past and that seems like the best default. It simply works (near
> enough) everywhere. Doesn't work for all image types but where it does ...

The default image *is* i386/amd64 netinst.

> > 2. Users of the amd64 kernel flavour on i386 encouraged to add amd64 as
> > a secondary architecture (debconf note?).
> 2b. Have D-I ask wether to enable multiarch on amd64 on i386 if it
> installed the amd64 kernel image but also i386 on amd64.

Would be good, but might not be possible in time for wheezy.

> Slightly OT but I wanted to mention it for its similarity:
> One thing that should be tested and then documented prominently as yay
> or nay in the wheezy upgrade notes is wether one can cross-grade from
> i386 to amd64 using multiarch. Wether one can install apt/dpkg:amd64 and
> then migrate to a 64bit userspace.

I don't believe this is easily doable yet.  (It was possible, with
difficulty, even before multi-arch.)

> > Then in wheezy+1:
> > 3. amd64 kernel flavour for i386 dropped.
> > 4. Kernel and common libraries for amd64 included in i386 installation
> > media; kernel included on low-number disc.
> > 5. Installer for i386 prefers amd64 kernel on any capable machine
> > (that's a one-line change!) and adds amd64 as secondary architecture if
> > this is selected.
> D-I (libdebian-installer) must be multiarch aware for that then.
> Otherwise it won't see the amd64 kernel in the first place.


> > Eventually (wheezy+2? +3?) we would stop building a kernel package for
> > i386.
> As in drop the i386 arch?

No, keep i386 userland only.  Though we might consider reducing even
that to a 'partial architecture' that has only libraries (similar to
ia32-libs today, only cleaner).


> > Does anyone see a problem with the above, in particular points 1 and 2?
> No problem as such, just more ideas.
> > (Also, much of the above applies to s390x vs s390.  And please let's
> > have ppc64 and sparc64 soon!)
> >
> > Ben.

Ben Hutchings
All extremists should be taken out and shot.

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