arm64: Archive Qualification page

July 2014

Contents

  1. arm64: Archive Qualification page
    1. Questions for new architectures
      1. Are machines available to buy for the general public?
      2. Is full source available?
      3. Is this architecture related to other architectures already in the archive, or that also should be considered, either now or in the future? Can the related architectures be supported in a single architecture (eg, with a biarch arrangement)?
      4. Are there 3 or more developers (or NMs) actively maintaining the port? Who are they?
      5. What sort of architecture is this? Desktop/workstation? Mainframe/supercomputer? Embedded? Something else?
      6. Does it have any users? If a desktop system, are there Debian admins who run Debian systems on the arch? If an embedded system are there real systems shipping that a Debian port will be useful for? If a mainframe system are there real systems with many users that a Debian port will be useful for? Who are they?
      7. Is there kernel and toolchain support? At what level? Are the latest versions supported, or are legacy releases required for compatibility with some hardware?
      8. Has the ABI stabilised, or are there major ABI changes coming up? Is the ABI stable enough to ensure users will be able just "apt-get dist-upgrade" from one version to the next?
      9. How do you install a system? (URL to a HOWTO)
      10. Has a buildd been setup? How much of the archive has been built (count by source package, builds of old versions are fine for this case)?
      11. What hardware is potentially available as a fast buildd?
      12. Is there an example box developers can login to to see if it works?
      13. It's also worth considering whether the port has any special requirements. If the port is mainly for embedded systems, it may be appropriate to have different installation or release arrangements compared to normal desktop/workstation architectures.
      14. Completely built using packages available in plain Debian
      15. Packages imported from external source and used for the initial build run must be signed by one of the lead porters, who must be a DD
      16. At least two machines ready to be maintained by the Debian System Administrators

Questions for new architectures

Are machines available to buy for the general public?

Yes. Currently (august 2014) there are 3 useful (i.e linux-running) machines available (The first two are definitely shipping and purchaseable):

All are expensive server/hardware bringup dev board type hardware, but we expect a lot more hardware to appear over the next 6 months.

See https://wiki.debian.org/Arm64Port#Hardware.2C_emulators_and_models for updates

Is full source available?

Yes. Everything is Free Software. Kernels, toolchains, debian userspace etc. Things have been being upstreamed from more than 2 years now (upstreaming started in May 2012 with the kernel).

It is related to armel/armhf in that those 32-bit arches can run on this arch in much the same way as i386 on amd64. So using multiarch, armel and armhf run fine on arm64 hardware.

Are there 3 or more developers (or NMs) actively maintaining the port? Who are they?

Yes. Wookey, Riku Voipio, Steve ?McIntyre, Adam Conrad, Mathias Klose, Peter Green.

What sort of architecture is this? Desktop/workstation? Mainframe/supercomputer? Embedded? Something else?

General purpose, but initially primarily aimed at servers, although most shipments so far have been phones (iPhone 5). It'll be used in laptops, netbooks, phones, tablets and desktops too.

Does it have any users? If a desktop system, are there Debian admins who run Debian systems on the arch? If an embedded system are there real systems shipping that a Debian port will be useful for? If a mainframe system are there real systems with many users that a Debian port will be useful for? Who are they?

There are some users amongst the lucky people who have hardware at this point (August 2014). So that's largely within ARM and Linaro. A lot of devs are keen to stop using OE and move to Debian :-) Debian has only been bootable on the real hardware for a month or two so numbers are small right now, but I expect significant adoption will come quickly with more widely-available hardware.

Is there kernel and toolchain support? At what level? Are the latest versions supported, or are legacy releases required for compatibility with some hardware?

There is good kernel and toolchain support, maintained by Linaro. Kernel support was added in 3.6, upstreamed in 3.8 glibc support was added to 2.16, upstreamed with 2.17 gcc support was added in 4.7, upstreamed in 4.8 qemu support was added in 1.9, upstreamed in 2.0, and system support in 2.1

Has the ABI stabilised, or are there major ABI changes coming up? Is the ABI stable enough to ensure users will be able just "apt-get dist-upgrade" from one version to the next?

Yes. A lot of work went into stabilising this for the initial public gcc release in 2012. The ABI has been stable and became set in stone when official docs were published in spring 2014 http://community.arm.com/docs/DOC-8453 (stupid click-through to download)

How do you install a system? (URL to a HOWTO)

Currently debootstrap: https://wiki.debian.org/Arm64Port#Debootstrap_arm64

But D-I images are now building and might even work :-)

Has a buildd been setup? How much of the archive has been built (count by source package, builds of old versions are fine for this case)?

Yes, Debian-ports buildd was set up in Marcharch. 9189 (arch any) packages currently (~85%) (12th Aug 2014)

What hardware is potentially available as a fast buildd?

2 ARM juno boards have been loaned as official buildds, housed in ARM's datacentre with the armel/armhf buildds.

The initial two (debian-ports) buildds are 1) APM Mustang machine (8-core, 2.1Ghz, 16GB RAM), 2) Xen instance on APM Mustang machine (2 cores, 2.1Ghz, 4GB RAM) Those keep up quite easily, building 80-200 packages/day each if the queue stays filled.

Is there an example box developers can login to to see if it works?

Wookey can give DD's access to a Xen instance on one of the Mustang machines. This is an interim measure until we get suitably-housed hardware for a DSA-administered porterbox.

It's also worth considering whether the port has any special requirements. If the port is mainly for embedded systems, it may be appropriate to have different installation or release arrangements compared to normal desktop/workstation architectures.

The port does not have special requirements in this regard.

Completely built using packages available in plain Debian

As of July 2014 there are 3 packages left in 'unreleased' (i.e not meeting the above criteria) at this point. Wookey has been working through NMUing the 20-odd maximum we got to during the bootstrap. We'll get the rest fixed soon. qt4-x11 is the only problematic one that needs real work to make it acceptable to the maintainer.

Packages imported from external source and used for the initial build run must be signed by one of the lead porters, who must be a DD

Wookey or Sledge

At least two machines ready to be maintained by the Debian System Administrators

Arriving 13th August 2014.