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posted by LaminatorX on Wednesday October 08 2014, @01:33AM   Printer-friendly
from the needs-a-systemd-port dept.

According to an email sent to the Debian debian-devel-announce mailing list by Adam D. Barratt, the Debian GNU/kFreeBSD port is in grave danger of being dropped from the upcoming Debian 8 "Jessie" release. Debian GNU/kFreeBSD runs the GNU userland tools, the GNU C library and the Debian package set on top of the FreeBSD kernel.

Barratt states:

We remain gravely concerned about the viability of this port. Despite the reduced scope, we feel that the port is not currently of sufficient quality to feature as a fully supported release architecture in Jessie.

We therefore advise the kFreeBSD porters that the port is in danger of being dropped from Jessie, and invite any porters who are able to commit to working on the port in the long term to make themselves known *now*.

We will assess the viability of kFreeBSD in Jessie on or after 1st November, and a yes/no decision will be taken at that time.

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  • (Score: 2) by VLM on Wednesday October 08 2014, @12:41PM

    by VLM (445) on Wednesday October 08 2014, @12:41PM (#103541)

    So... for people who don't know much about the innards of Debian, which is apparently a lot of people, I will try to explain aside from the politics of systemd etc.

    So drop some acid or close your eyes and imagine or whatever helps you adsorb analogies. Debian has a gigantic pool of packaged software and each package file has a version number tag. Not entirely unlike git, at least conceptually. Many lists are made of a subset of those package versions. Theres a list called "experimental" and thats crazy brand new technology demonstrator alpha stuff that may or may not blow up and some brave poor bastard needs to test it. Theres a list of slightly older and cleaner packages and their version tags called "unstable" which is run of the mill fresh off github and it probably works and at least attempts to follow all of Debian policy so it plays well with others and is "safe-ish" to run although not on a production server. Theres a list of yet slightly older and even cleaner packages called "testing", and finally another list called "stable". And some other lists like "old-stable" but I don't want to confuse things.

    Stuff tagged with "unstable" moves automagically to "testing" in 10 days if no one files a significant bug in the bug tracking system on the unstable package. This is onesie twosie individual package at a time movement. Every day, actually every couple hours, a new batch of presumably clean and healthy packages is promoted from unstable to testing.

    Likewise there's a process for moving stuff from being tagged "testing" to being tagged "stable". This (semi-manual) process picks up all of testing on "release day" and throws it into stable. The way this stuff is decided is a cabal decides what moves and when. Now don't freak out about it being a cabal, its more or less a meritocracy and a do-ocracy and all that good stuff and they have done excellent work. Just pointing out it isn't the project leader or an election or something, its a cabal. Releases sometimes take a couple years, sometimes like 9 months, it varies based on major transitions and installer new features and issues, and probably astrological stuff and general mood too. Well we could sit here and wait for KDE 5 or kernel 4.0 but maybe we should drop a "stable" instead of waiting. There is both more, and less, coordination with major projects than you'd think, in other words it varies, including your definition of what a major project is, LOL.

    Different "lists" have different levels of support from various teams. The release team isn't burning old fashioned legacy optical install media with your unstable packages, sorry just aint happening they only use stuff from stable (uh sort of, other than periodic point security releases). The security team is hyper about stable and old-stable and has become more vigilant about testing, experimental you're kinda on your own its called experimental for a reason, and old-old-old-stable you're kinda on your own. And the installer team is very interested in getting stable to work and not so interested in unstable other than at the start of a cycle.

    Anyway all this announcement means is kfreebsd is probably not going to have its list of packages tagged as "stable" and a bunch of other archs are or are not going to get a stable release this time around.

    Not releasing does mean you're not going to get a legacy old fashioned DVD with a brand new Debian label on release day. And release notes aren't going to list an arch that isn't released (duh). The website and PR team are definitely not going to announce in headlines and press releases "debian 8.0, which includes (your arch that didn't release)" And a couple other things.

    This has happened with HURD and m68k aka 68000 and now kfreebsd and happened to the s390 zOS before it got popular enough and likely others. I think from memory amd64 missed the first release cutoff but it was fine after that (doesn't really matter, this is just from memory) Old sparc, pre sparc64, at least I think that got cut a long time ago. Alpha (the early 90s architecture, one of the first widespread 64 bit pro-sumer-ish archs) got cut a long time ago.

    It does not mean, at least not today, at least not with this announcement, that an archive or BTS section or website section or wiki section is getting rm -Rf treatment. Could very well happen in the future. Or maybe not.

    So enough factual stuff. Now wild speculation commences:

    From my limited experience with freebsd so far, pkg based binary packages being more or less apt ported to freebsd, that probably reduces a lot of the demand for freebsd kernel on Debian. "Oh you really want something like apt-get on freebsd, well post-2013 or so, just type pkg instead of apt-get and you're mostly all good" Although I like and would miss Debian policy and DFSG and the social contract (despite however much they might not be followed, at least they try).

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  • (Score: 2) by forsythe on Wednesday October 08 2014, @08:42PM

    by forsythe (831) on Wednesday October 08 2014, @08:42PM (#103769)

    Thanks for the explanation - this addresses the post I already made in the story that prevents me from modding you up.

    • (Score: 2) by VLM on Wednesday October 08 2014, @09:10PM

      by VLM (445) on Wednesday October 08 2014, @09:10PM (#103786)

      Watching the innards of Debian while a release is hatched is analogous to watching sausage being made. I had a good analogy going with pink slime but we're all better off with me leaving it out. Everything in the post was 100% factual other than the conjecture at the end. I would imagine the release of FreeBSD 10.0 with pkg functionality took a lot of wind out of the debian-kfreebsd sails.

      Imagine if Debian threatened to port apt-get into Windows as a supported arch (sounds insane, but not impossible) and before they're done, Microsoft actually put their own apt-get into winders 10.0 to head them off at the pass. Madness.