[Openmcl-devel] A Debian packaging update and an outstanding issue

Peter Van Eynde pvaneynd at mailworks.org
Thu Aug 23 07:19:04 PDT 2012

Hello all,

On 20 Aug 2012, at 09:28, Gary Byers wrote:

> On Mon, 13 Aug 2012, Pascal J. Bourguignon wrote:
>> Faheem Mitha <faheem at faheem.info> writes:
>>>>> The phrase "slightly older and compatible" is vague.
> Tough.
> If you think that it's somehow possible to describe all of the dependencies
> and issues concisely (and that whoever wrote that phrase was just too lazy
> to do so),  you probably should think about that harder.

Just to give a data point from someone who handles a similar setup: cmucl.

The bare Debian requirement is that the release can recompile itself. This is obviously true as CCL version X can recompile version X.

So from that point of view, there is no problem. The real problem are the auto-builders. Let me explain:

A Debian package upload consists of a source part and a binary part for at least one architecture. The auto-builders will pick the source package up, install the build-dependencies and then try to build the package for the other supported architectures not included in the upload.

The problem is two fold:

- you cannot interact with the auto-builders, and unless you specify the build-depends stringently you have little control over which version of CCL is used to recompile the new one. So if there are any errors or manual work required it will simply fail to build. It must simply build without user input.

- you don't have control over the build environment. The C people are happy with 'armv7', but sometimes the build will break with a certain model of hardware or kernel. This is very difficult to fix as you often don't have access to the same environment to reproduce the problem.

In conclusion: non C-based programs can only be reliably put into Debian if you have access to all the supported architectures to build the packages yourself and upload the extra binary packages.

Best regards, Peter

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