Debian may drop MIPS as an official release architecture

EdorFaus edorfaus at
Fri Oct 4 19:40:25 EDT 2013

On 10/04/2013 11:48 PM, R Paxton wrote:
> Debian has been nothing but problems for me over time. APT is so complex
> that I can't even set my own compiler flags for my software like CCFLAGS
> and USE flags (for Gentoo) unless I use something like my own local repo
> with deb package source files.

Unless I misunderstand what you mean, that has nothing to do with apt 
complexity* and everything to do with the fact that Debian packages 
(typically) come already compiled, instead of being compiled on your system.

Obviously, that means it's too late to set the compiler flags for those 
packages at installation time, which is what you seem to be asking for.

OTOH, if you want to recompile a package for your system (e.g. if you 
need an extra patch), I've found that to be fairly easy. IIRC (it's been 
a while since I needed it), it goes something like this:

apt-get source <packagename>
apt-get build-dep <packagename>
[patch the source or build scripts with your changes]
dpkg -i <package-file.deb>

after which your newly built version will have been installed on your 
system. No extra package repository is necessary.

Of course, if you generally want to rebuild everything to optimize for 
your system and setup, instead of using prebuilt binary packages, then 
Debian is probably not the best fit for you. I think Gentoo sounds like 
a better fit in that case.

> They've even removed Virtualbox from the free repo because it's compiled
> with a proprietary compiler.

That makes sense to me. I think the main repo is intended only for 
packages that you can rebuild to match the binary by using only the free 
tools, which is impossible if they're using a proprietary compiler.

Personally, I wouldn't have noticed that Virtualbox is not in the main 
repo, because it's available in the contrib repo - which I usually have 
enabled anyway, since I'm not that much of a purist (and neither are 
you, it seems, since you seem not to be bothered by the proprietary 
compiler, so I don't really see why you're complaining about this).

> And Wine nowadays does not even work right
> for me under Debian. How dumb is that?

Are you sure that they even know about your problem? (After all, it 
works quite well for a lot of people, and they can't fix what they don't 
know about.) Also, do you know that it's caused by something 
Debian-specific, not something in upstream Wine?

> Because of changes like these that the Debian folks make, it makes
> the entire system more and more unstable every time.

This sounds like you either have a very unusual setup, or have had very 
back luck, because I think this is contrary to what most Debian users 
experience. (Especially the "every time" part sounds suspicious, and 
makes me think confirmation bias might be involved.)

> I'm not saying anyone should stay away from Debian if they drop MIPS,

To me, the MIPS issue seems tangential to the rest of this email...

> but at least try the Portage and Ports system too in Gentoo and FreeBSD
> before deciding that Debian has "simply the best package manager".

I didn't see anyone here saying that it does. I'm fairly sure it has at 
least *one of* the best; at least for me it does, but that may be down 
to it being what I'm used to (which is a powerful force), and me not 
having had any significant problems with it (that I remember at least).

> Certainly, Debian does not have some of the best maintainers.

I'm probably reading this more specifically than you intended it, but 
this assertion does not follow from anything you've said in this email.

It would not surprise me at all if Debian has some maintainers that are 
among the best at what maintainers do - you're asserting they don't.

However, it's unlikely that *all* of their maintainers are among the 
best, so they probably also have some that are not particularly good at 
it, which is what I guess you meant to say.


*) I'm not saying that apt isn't complex. It has to be, to provide some 
of the features it does - but that's internal complexity. I've generally 
found it to be quite easy to use for what I usually need - but again, 
I'm already used to it, so might be not seeing the problem...

More information about the discussion mailing list