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Re: Re-evaluating architecture inclusion in unstable/experimental

[trimmed cross-post]

On Sat, Sep 29, 2018 at 07:48:09AM +0100, Ben Hutchings wrote:
> On Fri, 2018-09-28 at 14:16 +0200, John Paul Adrian Glaubitz wrote:

> >  * x32: maintained by the people who maintain the x86 port of the kernel
> H. Peter Anvin did the original port in 2012, but so far as I can see
> none of the x86 maintainers have done any development on it since then.
> And yes, development work has been needed:
> - x32 has 64-bit time_t and that never worked quite right.  This may
>   have finally been fixed this year by Arnd Bergmann's work, but I'm
>   not sure.
> - syscall restart was broken until 2015 when someone actually tested
>   it.
> - There have been several regressions specific to x32, some of which
>   stuck around for a year or so before someone and fixed them.

As a (lapsed) porter for x32 here in Debian, I don't think it's worth
keeping.  Despite all the touted benefits, no one uses the arch.  There's a
big difference between popcon 8 for an arch requiring obscure hardware or
a FPGA, vs popcon that low for hardware everyone of us owns.  Unlike
kfreebsd-[x86] you can even conveniently run x32 in a chroot or lxc, yet no
one does.

The advertised benefits of the port are:
* memory savings
* a few percent speed gain over amd64

With primary use cases being hosting of multiple containers, and/or running
a large number-crunching cluster.  Sacrificing lots of human hassle for a 7%
speed boost makes you a "Gentoo ricer"[1] on a desktop/laptop, but could be
a nice thing on a $1M cluster.

But, recently someone approached me with exactly that use case.  He also
required jessie, which happens to be the only release I have a consistent
set of packages for.  The evaluation result was: nope.

A short while ago Linus pondered dropping x32, as it complicates kernel
syscall code.  The only proof he was told that "it's still in use" was my
https://debian-x32.org -- yet that site hasn't been updated since jessie.

Thus: I propose to drop x32, and reallocate your tuits to other archs.


[1]. No offense for real Gentoo users, I mean the stereotype.
⣾⠁⢰⠒⠀⣿⡁ 10 people enter a bar: 1 who understands binary,
⢿⡄⠘⠷⠚⠋⠀ 1 who doesn't, D who prefer to write it as hex,
⠈⠳⣄⠀⠀⠀⠀ and 1 who narrowly avoided an off-by-one error.