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Re: Who wants to build a mips64 and/or mips64el n32 port?

On Wed, Feb 01, 2012 at 03:56:33PM -0800, David Daney wrote:
> Hi,


> We (Cavium, Inc.) are interested in working with one or more people
> to create a MIPS 64 port of Debian.  As part of the effort, we can
> make available one or more fairly high end machines.  These would be
> cn5650 (12 CPU SMP) based, or similar, with 4GB of RAM and a large
> SATA disk.
> See: http://cavium.com/OCTEON-Plus_CN56XX.html
> These are running unmodified Linux 3.2 kernels with mips/Squeeze
> installed and at first would be big-endian only.
> We can also run little-endian in the future, but we are interested
> in attacking the big-endian problem first.

I think Debian would be interested in having a 64-bit MIPS port, but the
main problem is to have enough people interested and providing manpower.
The current mips and mipsel ports are not in a very good state, and are
already lacking manpower to fix the existing issues. That's why this
part is important, and it would be difficult to convince the release
team and the community in general to add a 3rd mips(el) port if the
already existing ones are not well maintained.

About the n32 port, I have to say I am not sure it's a good idea to go
for 32-bit nowadays. As far as I know n32 is still limited to a 2GB
memory space, and this already causes some issues in Debian. More and 
more code reaches this limit (including GCC), issuing the now famous
"Virtual memory space exhausted". IMHO architectures with a 2GB memory
space will have a very limited life in Debian, that's why for example
the s390 port is being replaced by the s390x port. Architecture with 4GB 
memory space can probably live a bit longer though.

So if a new MIPS port is created, I really advise to create a full
64-bit port.

Aurelien Jarno	                        GPG: 1024D/F1BCDB73
aurelien@aurel32.net                 http://www.aurel32.net

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