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Porting packages to sparc


There is currently a number of packages which fail to build on sparc
simply because sparc is not mentioned in the architecture list in debian/control. Usually it means that either the upstream does not support sparc arch, or maintainer decided that it's not worth supporting it. It is up to the porters (that is, us) to decide whether the package is portable, or it should be just left alone and added to the packages-arch-specific (p-a-s) file [1], so that it is never considered for building on sparc.

I have went through the packages which are currently in the Maybe-Failed state [0], and compiled a list of candidates for inclusion into p-a-s, as well as a list of packages which currently fail to build, but might be portable. Both lists are presented below. There are some questions in them, which I could not answer quickly myself. I would like to invite anyone interested in sparc porting to work on these problems. That includes contacting maintainers/upstream to figure out the current status on sparc, evaluating and discussing the complexity of the porting tasks, and actual porting, if it proves to be feasible.

Should (most probably) be in p-a-s:

libopenspc	sparc not in arch list. Major parts written in i386
xmms-openspc	Depends on libopenspc.
hdaps-utils	sparc not in arch list. Utilities specific for IBM
		ThinkPad laptops.
nvidia-xconfig	sparc not in arch list. NVIDIA X configuration tools,
		probably only useful on machines with NVIDIA proprietary
		driver, which is not available on sparc.
ogre-contrib	sparc not in arch list. Depends on NVIDIA Cg Toolkit
		(proprietary, not available on sparc).
nvidia-cg-toolkit Installer for proprietary NVIDIA software, not available
		  for sparc.
libsmbios	Access to BIOS, useful only in PC arches?
atokx2		sparc not in arch list. Installer for non-free Japanese
		input method, not available for sparc.
mesa-legacy	sparc not in arch list. Hardware-accelerated rendering
		capabilities for 3DFX-based graphics cards. Useful on sparc?
apcidump	sparc not in arch list. Utility to dump ACPI tables.
		Specific to PC architectures?
hotkey-setup	sparc not in arch list. Setup of hotkeys on PC laptops.
php4-maxdb	PHP module for access to MaxDB database, which is
		currently supported on PC arches only.

Probably can be ported (anybody interested?):

llvm		'Unsupported architecture' during configure run.
		A collection of libraries and tool that makes it
		easy to build compilers, etc.
gsnes9x		sparc not in arch list (why?). Depends on non-free
snes9x-x, which is Arch: any. kexec-tools 'unsupported architecture sparc' during configure
		run. Tool to load a kernel in memory and reboot into
		the kernel loaded in memory. Support for sparc might
		be pending upstream (see bug 338846).
dfsbuild	sparc not in the arch list. Build script for Debian
		From Scratch. Probably needs to be taught how to make
		a sparc bootable CD.
libaio		sparc not in arch list. Library for kernel asynchronous
		I/O system calls.
lcrash		sparc not in arch list. Kernel patch and utilities required
to produce and analyze kernel crash dump. adeos sparc not in arch list. A kernel patch implementing a
		nanokernel for sharing of hw resources. Too hard (?).
grub2		sparc not in arch list. Portable? Jeff Bailey was working
		on it some time ago, I think.
odyssey		sparc not in arch list. Utility for programming PIC micro-
		controllers through a parallel type programmer.
gwp		sparc not in arch list. A VGA Planets game client for GNOME.
		Why in contrib?
cacao		'sparc systems not supported' during configure. Free
		Java virtual machine.
qemu		Probably portable. I've made some progress with it, patches
		were posted to upstream mailing list. Needs further work.
lcd4linux	Fails with 'unknown opcode `rep'' during build. Has
		some arch-specific asm? Program to display info on
		the external LCD display. Any sparc which needs it?

[0] http://buildd.debian.org/~jeroen/status/architecture.php?a=sparc
[1] http://buildd.debian.org/quinn-diff/Packages-arch-specific

Best regards,

Jurij Smakov                                        jurij@wooyd.org
Key: http://www.wooyd.org/pgpkey/                   KeyID: C99E03CC

P.S. Now that I've written it, it occured to me that it would be nice
to have this list in the wiki somewhere, to keep track of the issues.
Anybody interested in putting it there?

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