As I continue to wade through the backlog of mail in my debian-devel folder due to
The Thread, I read a small thread starting with this message from Peter De Schrijver, which got me thinking.
Why do we bother building everything on every architecture?
I haven't seen or played with any of the more uncommon architectures that
are potentially going to be affected by the Vancouver Proposal, but I know
ARM is more of an embedded system architecture, and I don't actually know
what m68k is good for, other than maybe revelling in a bygone era.
For some of these architectures that have trouble keeping up with building
everything, do we actually need to build everything on them? Does s390 need
KDE? Does it even need X? Can you sit in front of a mainframe and use it as
a desktop computer? Would you even want to? Similar questions must apply for
some of the other architectures.
So I wonder if we're a bit too quick to use Architecture: any in
our binary packages? Well, as I just discovered on #debian-devel, the
Architecture: field is irrelevant anyway (to package building), it is
wanna-build that attempts to build everything, and it doesn't look at the
Architecture: field of a source package.
So it's a bit of a shame package maintainers can't more directly control
this from their packages, and it's a shame that it can't be done on a
opt-out basis. For example, if KDE didn't need to be built on m68k, the kde
source package could have something like Architecture: any, !m68k.
Even if the architecture list had to be explicitly specified, wishlist bugs
could be used to add an architecture to the list that a particular package
was built on.
But, as it seems that the build process doesn't work this way, this approach
won't work in any shape or form without a bit of reengineering of all the
One upside of these musings is that I discovered a veritable wealth of knowledge about how
everything hangs together, which was something I was lamenting about the
lack of about 18 months ago, so I can improve my education some more.
Back to reading debian-devel...