Maintainance of Packages-arch-specific

Philipp Kern pkern at
Thu Dec 25 16:09:01 GMT 2008

Hi there,

the maintainance of a file called Packages-arch-specific, which controls
which packages are built for which architecture and which is used by both
Debian and Ubuntu, was recently handed over to other developers.  In the
light of this the change process has been modified, as outlined below.

Packages-arch-specific in a nutshell:  This file is consulted whenever
there is a missing build for a source package on an architecture.  Some
source packages could only be built on some (like programs which still are
not 64bit-safe, or use special header files that are not commonly
available on all Linux arches) and sometimes it is ok if single binary
packages are missing on an architecture.  You could see a current checkout
on [0].  The reason why it is necessary is that the build masters are
often unable to determine architecture restrictions due to them only
inspecting Packages and Sources file.  Thus if you limit the architectures
in the source stanza of `debian/control', and it is not only a temporary
measure, then you should also submit a change request.

But please aware that an entry in this file is not always necessary.  For
example: If you rely on a runtime which is only ported to some
architectures like Mono (although I think it is ported to all Ubuntu
architectures) then a build-dependency on some Mono package will exclude
the build automatically and only Mono itself needs to be listed in this
control file.

So to the changed procedure as announced in [1]:  For transparancy we
want further changes to the file submitted as bugs in the Debian Bug
Tracker against the pseudo-package `'[2].  Enquiries
might also be sent to the mail address mentioned in the file[0] itself.

In theory it is necessary to branch the file for releases, but in the
past only one file was used for all releases.  Ubuntu currently pulls
the sid branch of the repository[3].  This should probably be refined
at some point in the future either by you (as in Ubuntu/Sojuz) or
by the creation of a Ubuntu branch in our repository.

Questions, anyone?  I know that some people want to get rid of this
file for Ubuntu altogether, which would be fine with me, of course.
I just hope that for the time it is (still?) used that we (as in
wanna-build admins on the Debian side) can provide a timely changing
service for both Debian and Ubuntu.

Kind regards,
Philipp Kern

[3] git://
    This is no Alioth project because we do not want to move this critical
    file away from the wanna-build infrastructure used by Debian as this
    might mess horribly with our data.
 .''`.  Philipp Kern                            Debian Developer
: :' :                      Ubuntu MOTU
`. `'   xmpp:phil at
  `-    finger pkern/key at
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