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JanStedehouder's Journal: Debian PPC quarrels force users to move elsewhere 8

Journal by JanStedehouder
I am keeping up with the Debian PPC mailing list for some months now and apart from bug reports there is only one main theme: some nasty infighting between key Debian PPC developers. Today, January 11, Mathew Binkley send the following message to the mailing list:

Greetings. I am the senior system administrator at Vanderbilt University's supercomputing center. We operate a 1500 processor cluster for researchers at Vanderbilt.

Our current cluster is divided between 840 Intel/AMD x86 processors, and 672 IBM PowerPC 970FX processors. To date, we have required different operating systems on each architecture because of poor OS support for the PowerPC's. SuSE has been our only option so far.

Etch supports PowerPC's running in 64-bit mode, so I was eager to try it on our cluster several months ago. I uncovered a small bug in the installer (the AMD 74xx driver was not compiled in the debian-installer kernel) which prevented me from installing Debian, and reported it to the PowerPC list in September 2006. I was promised that the driver would be included shortly.

Unfortunately, some sort of personal issues between developers in the PowerPC group and the debian-installer group has prevented this minor fix from occuring. I do not understand what that problem *is*, only that personal problems are getting in the way of real-world results.

I had hoped to be able to install Debian on our cluster during our refresh this spring in order to have a consistent OS across all architectures. Since I have not been able to get this minor bug resolved in three months, we will be installing Centos 5 instead.

I have personally been using Debian since slink, and I would like to believe that Debian can sort these issues out before it becomes a permanent handicap to the organization.

Finally, I would like to extend thanks to Sven Luthor for tracking down the bug and trying to get me some assistance.

The response was swift and brutal by the hands of Frans Pop:

On Thursday 11 January 2007 18:40, Mathew Binkley wrote: > > Our current cluster is divided between 840 Intel/AMD x86 processors, > > and 672 IBM PowerPC 970FX processors. To date, we have required > > different operating systems on each architecture because of poor OS > > support for the PowerPC's.

> > Etch supports PowerPC's running in 64-bit mode, so I was eager to try > > it on our cluster several months ago. I uncovered a small bug in the > > installer (the AMD 74xx driver was not compiled in the debian-installer > > kernel) which prevented me from installing Debian, and reported it to

False: it was not compiled into the standard Debian kernel. The installer does not use custom kernels. This was explained to you at the time.

> > the PowerPC list in September 2006. I was promised that the driver > > would be included shortly.

Please check your facts before sending such mails: # dpkg -c ide-modules-2.6.18-3-powerpc64-di_1.26_powerpc.udeb | grep 74xx -rw-r--r-- root/root 31848 2006-12-10 18:43 ./lib/modules/2.6.18-3-powerpc64/kernel/drivers/ide/pci/amd74xx.ko

The daily build Etch images have been using this udeb for a bit more than a month. The delay in getting the module included in the installer has been completely on the side of the regular kernel package, and not the installer.

Other images (RC1, weekly builds) do not yet have the module because we (the installer team) are still waiting for the kernel team to upload a new 2.6.18 kernel before we can work on our own next release.

I'll ignore the rest of your rant as it is obviously based on false assumptions.

Cheers,

FJP

P.S. Some apologies would be appreciated.

Even if Mathew was incorrect in one way or another, he is someone who apparently uses Debian in a serious environment and due to the continued infighting among Debian PPC developers he feels compelled to move away from Debian.

Unfortunately, Frans kept on biting here and Mathew responded as follows

Frans Pop wrote:

> > And we are supposed to guess that by telepathic means or something?

No. However, if the bug wasn't fixed when I asked in September and October, it won't magically vanish in the intervening time.

> > Please file a new installation report [1] including (gzipped!)

Since the bug report hasn't changed since my initial bug report, you may try that. Those blades are now running RHEL 5. Debian lost its opportunity.

> > Note: if you are really interested in solving this issue, I suggest we > > discontinue this useless thread and stop bothering a lot of people who > > can't help you anyway

I am not interested in solving this "issue". As I said previously, we're not considering Debian any more. It's a dead issue.

What I am interested in, as a long-time Debian user, is solving the greater issue of real-world Debian problems not being solved because some developers have raging egos and can't get along.

Thus I am including the people who have a chance to change that. Debian may never die as a distribution, but it's heading down the road towards losing it's relevance because of issues like this, and that's sad.

In the mean time Sven Luthor is away on a self-imposed two-month ban. Now I know that bickering and fighting are not uncommon, but so far there is still no Debian Etch in sight, the work on the PPC port is seriously hindered with a fork being considered and at least one major user moves away.

And some people still can the user the problem?

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Debian PPC quarrels force users to move elsewhere

Comments Filter:
  • While Sven Luther regularly manages to come out sounding like a flaming troll, his dedication to the PPC port is second to none. He'd just need to learn to discuss calmly and to avoid getting personal with fellow developers to redeem himself.

    Meanwhile, Frans Pop does fantastic work on the installer, but continuously makes the false assumption that users should always attempt fresh installs from Release Candidate installers. If he were an upstream software developer, he'd be the kind that insists that user

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