[linux-elitists] [RANT] Debian the Elitist Distribution?

Martin Pool mbp@samba.org
Mon Feb 23 15:35:49 PST 2004

On 23 Feb 2004, Jim Thompson <jim@netgate.com> wrote:

> (And, btw, you're asking for something I wasn't).

Let's just see about this.  You said

> >> Show me the "auto-build (with cross-compilers) all of 'sarge' from
> >> source for PowerPC (or your favorite non-x86 target) script.

and I said

> > Are you trying to say that you can cross-build everything with
> > your choice of distribution, but binary-based systems can't do it?
> > 
> > If so, would you like to share your magic technique for making
> > arbitrary packages cross-buildable?
> > 
> > If not, why are you asking Mike to do something that you can't do?

That is

 - cross-build == auto-build with cross-compilers, from source
 - every package == all of sarge

What specifically was I asking for that you didn't demand?

This is hard because many of the 8700+ packages in Debian were never
designed to cross-build, and fixing them requires understanding and
fixing their build systems.  Even an expert programmer might have
trouble with some of them, let alone a poor shell script.

So I'm happy to admit Debian can't cross-build everything from source,
and I will be enormously impressed if you could manage to cross-build
those 8700 packages on any other distro.  Maybe you could start with
an automatic cross build of apache+ssl+perl+php.

(I suppose you could make a much smaller distro that contained only
cross-safe packages, but though that might be useful it is hardly the
same thing.)
> OK, take out the 'cross-compiler' step, debian still can't do it. 

Before you evade the question again, let's be clear on what "it" you
think Debian can't do.  Are you asserting that it is not possible for
a script to build all of Debian from source?  How do you suppose
Debian does get built?

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