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Re: Adding sparc to Debian Ports

On 2015-10-13 14:41, John Paul Adrian Glaubitz wrote:
> Dear FTP team and dear buildd team!


> As discussed at DebConf15, I would like to ask you to add 'sparc'
> (SPARC 32-bit port)to Debian Ports after it was previously removed from
> the release architecture.

Speaking with my debian-ports hat on (added it in Cc:), note that the
Debian FTP Masters do not maintain (at least yet) the architectures on
debian-ports. That said there is been discussions to move them on a dak
based archived maintained by the Debian FTP Masters. This requires some
development though, and I don't know how far they are so far. It would
be a pity to do the work on debian-ports and to have to handle its move
to another archive just after.

> After a fruitful discussion on the debian-sparc mailing list [1],
> we have come to the conclusion that there are enough people willing
> to invest time, effort and resources in resurrecting the sparc
> ports of Debian. 

Dropping my debian-ports hat, I can clearly see in this thread interest
in reviving a sparc port, but I have not really identified persons who
actually plan to do the work. In that way the situation hasn't really
changed for the last years, and that's the reason why the port has been
removed from the main archive. Who is actually planning to do the work?

> While we already have sparc64 in ports, sparc (32)
> runs on more hardware and has more packages which are actually
> ported to sparc.

Does it means that you plan to change the ISA when reviving the port?
The Debian SPARC port targets the SPARCV8PLUS ISA since Lenny, which
in turns requires a SPARC v9 processor just like the Debian sparc64
port. Also note that 32-bit ports are getting slowly into danger [1],
so I am not sure it's going in the right direction.

> For example, mozjs builds fine on sparc32 but
> FTBFS on sparc64.

That's not really a random example. This package has architecture
specific code, that needs to be tweak for every recent architecture in
the archive. Have you actually tried to port it? Fixing this probably
requires a lot less than rebootstrapping and maintaining a port.

> Moreover, several people [2-3] have also offered fast SPARC machines
> as buildds which they are hosting themselves so we are not
> dependent on any of the older, half-broken Debian SPARC
> machines. So hardware won't be an issue.

Ok. Note that you still need to depend on old hardware, as newer
hardware like the OpenSPARC T1 machines that Debian owns are not stable
due to (at least) kernel bugs. However the situation is basically the
same for both SPARC and SPARC64, so that's indeed not an issue.

> Plus, Oracle is still actively maintaining the Linux SPARC
> port [4], so I think we have the ideal prerequisites for
> reviving the port.

The webpage you link says "Linux for SPARC is a pure 64-bit operating
system and can only work on a 64-bit SPARC CPU". It is clearly a way to
improve the Debian sparc64 port, but not really a way to improve the
sparc one.

> I will take care of setting up the buildds and all, I just need
> to have 'sparc' added on the FTP servers as well in wanna-build.
> Please let me know if there is anything I can do to help in
> the process.

I am still in doubt this is the right thing to do, now if there is an
actual team wanting to do the work, I guess we'll just add the sparc
port to debian-ports.


[1] https://lists.debian.org/debian-devel/2015/08/msg00331.html

Aurelien Jarno                          GPG: 4096R/1DDD8C9B
aurelien@aurel32.net                 http://www.aurel32.net

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