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thoughts about secondary architectures



Reply-To: 

Hi,

I have read the recent 'secondary architectures' thread with
interest.  (Sorry for joining in late and breaking the thread and
such.)


My view is that it's clear that most of the people hacking on Fedora
and using Fedora care only about x86/x86_64 systems, and that I (and
the other people who are interested in secondary architectures)
should try as much as possible to avoid making the lives of the x86
people difficult, if we ever want to have a chance of getting our
patches merged without pissing everyone else off.


After some thinking, I guess I am of the opinion (in case my opinion
counts for anything) that build failures on secondary architectures
should probably not affect primary architectures.  Mostly for the
reason above.

While it is very well possible that there is some bug in a package
that does not surface on x86, 99.9% of the Fedora developers are
unlikely to care about that if the package builds OK on x86 and no
ill effects are seen on x86.

>From a purely technical point of view I would advocate that a build
failure on any architecture fails the package build, but there will
only have to be 3 or 4 cases where some gcc ICE causes some package
to fail to build on some secondary architecture but build fine on
x86 and the x86 people will hate us forever afterwards, and will
eventually start clamoring that getting all these secondary
architectures on board was a bad idea to begin with.  (Which, of
course, would be totally understandable at that point.)


There is a similar issue with build speed.  While my fastest ARM box
(800 MHz with 512K L2 cache) is quite snappy as far as ARM systems go,
it is probably no match for even the crappiest of x86 boxes.  The
fastest ARM CPU I know of is a dual core 1.2GHz, which is still no
match for x86.

This doesn't mean, IMHO, that it makes no sense to run Fedora on ARM
systems.

But it does mean that if the building of packages on primary
architectures is throttled at the speed of building packages on ARM,
we're going to make a lot of (x86) Fedora developers very sad, angry,
frustrated, or all of the above.


So, IMHO, ideally, the existence of secondary architectures should
not significantly affect the typical workflow of an x86 Fedora
developer, and secondary architectures should not negatively affect
development on x86.

If that means that the secondary arch maintainers will have to work
twice as hard or three times as hard, then so be it (speaking as a
potential future secondary arch maintainer!) -- if your architecture
is not in the position of representing 99% of the Fedora userbase,
you'd better have very good arguments for having your architecture
be included in Fedora.


Just my 2ct.


thanks,
Lennert


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