On hate and ancient architectures.

Brian Nelson wonders why Debian 'hates' software developers and 'prioritizes ancient architectures over actual progress'.

First, get your facts right. The GCC 3.2 transition (with G++ ABI incompatibility) started on 2003-01-05; it had repercussions until at least 2003-08-14. For those of you who want it spelled out: that's well over seven months (more, since the second post I link to doesn't mark the end of the transition).

Second, apart from a C++ transition we're also facing a major version upgrade of the compiler; we're going from 3.x to 4.x. Meaning, a lot of fairly new code, and quite some regressions. This happened when GCC 3.0 was first introduced, too; however, we didn't have a G++ transition going on back then, so most people didn't even notice (except for the few unlucky ones who happened to hit an ICE).

Third, apart from the above problems, m68k is/was also facing a rather largish backlog due to it not being able to keep up with the transition, rather than its toolchain being broken. That problem is being addressed; in fact, the backlog has now been reduced from about 350 packages a week ago to 192 as of this writing, which is rather impressive (in fairness, I should also add that we've got 181 packages in state Failed, who will need to be rebuilt once our compiler has been fixed—and that might happen rather soon).

The point being that it's easy to bitch about 'ancient architectures' holding back the rest of Debian (especially when it's true, as unfortunately is the case right now); but that isn't helpful. All architectures will be problematic every once in a while; this is normal and to be expected. As long as it doesn't happen too often, I don't think it's unreasonable.

Hell, the arm people decided to throw out all packages because they need to change their ABI in an incompatible way. Talk about being disruptive...