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Bug#611830: [www.debian.org] please update /ports/ WRT to amd64 ("EM64T") and ppc64

On 2011-02-04 21:45, Osamu Aoki wrote:

On Fri, Feb 04, 2011 at 12:36:43PM -0500, Filipus Klutiero wrote:
I think we also need to update name to "32-bit PC (i386)" and "64-bit PC
(amd64)" in line with new release notes.

to reduce confusion.
Hi Osamu,
I actually filed this report when reviewing the release notes. I
found these "PC" descriptions vague/ambiguous. For example, a 32-bit
PowerPC is not i386. I think we should stick to x86 and x86-64,
possibly mentioning AMD64 and Intel 64. If not, then precise "IBM PC
compatible", not just "PC". I suppose release notes writers looked
at /ports/ and improvised a bit given the current status of /ports/.
See facts behind this at
PC has its origin as a short form for IBM PC.  We know it is not
precise.  But it is used as an unbranded genric word.  Actual IBM PC is
not good enough for Debian.  It has to be newer than IBM PC-AT
architecture and now CPU needs to be I thought 486 or newer (no more 386
support).  Pedantic usage of "IBM PC compatible" makes things more

"IBM PC-AT compatible and its decendants family with i486 or newer CPU"
is what "i386" arch means.
Sure. If we look at this issue deeper, there are 2 reasons why we could use have a list of architectures: show the extent of Debian's portability or distinguish architectures (for example to direct people to more information on an architecture or for download). To demonstrate the wide hardware support, as in the release announcement, using vague terms like "PC" is appropriate, but then we also have simpler explanations, as in the current announcement:

Debian runs on computers ranging from palmtops and handheld systems
to supercomputers, and on nearly everything in between.

For the other purpose of distinguishing architectures, we still do not need to give an exact description of what is supported (which would be very difficult). What we mainly need is to avoid readers to think they're using an architecture if they don't, so avoid overlap, and to hopefully have readers recognize the architecture they're interested in. For this purpose, in the case of i386, "IA32", "x86", "x86-32", "IBM PC compatible" are all good, just 32-bit PC is not because it overlaps with non-x86 32-bit PC architectures such as PowerPC. Note that there's another problem using this particular denomination, "32-bit PC"; users would rightly understand from that name that the architecture does not support 64-bit CPUs.

Of course when users download Debian, they should ideally be precisely informed of what each image supports and not just pick according to a wide architecture categorisation. But developing a tool to choose that a much bigger challenge out of the scope of /ports/index.html.

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