ARM: Dropping debian-installer armel+versatile kernel and netboot kernel

Loïc Minier loic.minier at
Mon Jun 20 14:17:51 UTC 2011

        Hey there

 On armel, we currently have a versatile flavor of the linux packages
 and a versatile netboot image of debian-installer.  ARM Versatile was
 added in Debian a long time ago and then in Ubuntu because it could be
 run within QEMU.  Nowadays in oneiric we have a linaro-vexpress kernel
 flavor and a corresponding d-i netboot image which supports ARM
 Versatile Express platforms.

 I'd like to kill the old versatile stuff:
 - ARM Versatile is an obsolete hardware platform (it got superseded by
   ARM RealView and then ARM Versatile Express, and even that is getting
 - versatile boards only supports up to ARMv6 CPUs but Ubuntu's
   userspace is ARMv7+, so we currently carry a patch to user an ARMv7
   CPU in our linux versatile build, which is hackish.  Vexpress
   supports SMP with ARMv7 CPUs, but can of course still run a v5
   userspace like Debian's.  Basically, Vexpress should be technically
   superior in all respects; notably, it can emulate 1024 MiB of RAM.
 - this would cut down the build time of "linux" on armel by one flavor
   out of two; perhaps from 28 hours to 14 hours
 - however, the kernel tree is slightly different: the linaro-vexpress
   flavor is based of linux-linaro which includes the Linaro kernel bits
   while versatile is built of the linux source package, with less
   patches over mainline

 Is there any objection to the removal of the versatile bits?

 NB: I'm seeing two annoying bugs with qemu/vexpress, which I think are
 present with versatile as well: qemu stalls regularly when accessing
 the emulated SD (LP #732223) but eventually proceeds; and some network
 I/O is corrupted or interrupted (LP #799757), but retrying allows to
 proceed.  The latter prevents using things like debootstrap as it can't
 do any retries.

Loïc Minier

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