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Re: when can a package be made architecture-dependent?

On Wed, Jan 15, 2003 at 04:43:36AM -0500, Steven G. Johnson wrote:
> I'm cc'ing this to debian-policy, because the issue in the subject line
> seems like an important general question.
> To summarize (http://bugs.debian.org/cgi-bin/bugreport.cgi?bug=176627): I
> reported a bug for mingw32 (a Linux->Windows cross-compiler) because the
> developer had declared it architecture-dependent for no technical reason
> that I could understand, and I wanted to run it on Debian/powerpc.
> He (Ron Lee <ron@debian.org>) responded:
> > Well.. spirit or none there are such things as unsupported architectures.
> > 
> > That said though, you are quite correct in that there should be no
> > technical reasons why it should remain that way for this package.
> > From a practical point of view though, this is unlikely to change
> > in the near future unless you either:
> > 
> > a) do the work.
> > b) find someone else with the right hardware prepared to do the work.
> > c) buy me a fast new PPC laptop.
> > 
> > I can quite sympathise with what you want, but I'm not going to
> > make this package arch-any just so it can break on every arch
> > except i386 (and hence keep it out of testing for everyone).

This is an incorrect assumption. If the package does not build on other
architectures, then it will *not* be kept out of testing. That will only
happen if it built once on some architecture and then stops being

Declaring "Architecture: i386" because you haven't guaranteed yourself
that it will build is wrong, and Debian porters have been fighting
against this for years.

> > That's not the sort of equality we're aiming for.
> Actually, I thought that *was* the sort of equality Debian was aiming
> for...if it breaks for any architecture, it's a serious problem that
> everyone has to deal with.  If every Debian developer refused to support
> architectures he/she didn't have immediate access to, non-x86 Debian would
> disappear pretty quickly.


> The main problem with mingw32 and mingw32-runtime, of course, is the
> circular dependency.  I understand the reason for this, but to get things
> up and running I just manually unpacked the mingw32-runtime i386 package
> and copied the files onto my system, deleted the dependencies from
> debian/control, built & installed mingw32, re-built mingw32-runtime,
> deleted the copied runtime, then installed the runtime .deb.

Porters would likely have to do something like this by hand for all
architectures, but that's not insurmountable; it had to be done for Ada
a while back.


Colin Watson                                  [cjwatson@flatline.org.uk]

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