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

Tim Gardner tim.gardner at
Tue Jun 28 10:25:50 UTC 2011

On 06/20/2011 03:17 PM, Loïc Minier wrote:
>          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   - ARM Versatile is an obsolete hardware platform (it got superseded by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
>     old)
>   - 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.
>     Cheers,

I talked to Oliver Grawert about this. We are quite happy to drop the 
distro versatile flavour in favor of the Linaro packaged 
versatile-express kernel.

Tim Gardner tim.gardner at

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