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#1 2018-07-23 16:35:59

MayhemWithMercy
Member
From: Ontario, Canada
Registered: 2018-06-03
Posts: 11

Architecture General Question

General question,

Arch as a distribution as we all know is run & maintained entirely by volunteers. The developers & packagers do not make money off their time contributing to the project. Thus, all work done on the OS by the team is resources & time spent that they are not compensated for (officially anyway, donations not withstanding). My point being that their time & resources are limited.

While this may be the case for many Linux distributions, a great majority of the popular ones have official support for a multitude of architectures. Ubuntu officially is built for x86_64, x86, arm with IoT, & the server versions even still are available for powerpc64, & IBM Z machines. Debian & Gentoo support all of the above plus a few more on top; Gentoo has a version seemingly for every processor architecture known to man (I'm aware it's not really a fair comparison as Debian & Gentoo both have larger dev teams than Arch, & Canonical is actually a commercial company whose dev's do get paid for their work, but just for comparison's sake).

https://www.debian.org/ports/
https://www.gentoo.org/downloads/

All of these different versions require separate packages & maintenance, do they not? With each architecture being extra work, out of curiosity does Arch gain any advantages by only official supporting one processor type? Are the developers able to perform better work on the distro by only having to focus on the x86_64 architecture? If there even is any feasible advantage gained from this, realistically speaking, how big is it?

Last edited by MayhemWithMercy (2018-07-23 16:38:39)

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#2 2018-07-23 16:48:45

loqs
Member
Registered: 2014-03-06
Posts: 6,364

Re: Architecture General Question

It means packages only need to be tested on one platform.  i686 was dropped because maintainers were building packages for i686 and pushing them out
without testing on the assumption that if x86_64 worked i686 would as well due to a lack of resources.  Packaging bugs for i686 were also harder to fix for the same reason.
Edit:
grammar due not do

Last edited by loqs (2018-07-23 16:49:15)

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#3 2018-07-23 17:35:49

MayhemWithMercy
Member
From: Ontario, Canada
Registered: 2018-06-03
Posts: 11

Re: Architecture General Question

This makes sense. The fact that only one platform has to be tested on means less work generally for the devs, no? (to be clear I'm not worried about the sustainability of Arch due to load on the devs, it's lasted this long after all hasn't it? tongue Just asking out of curiosity)

It always intrigued me that Arch was so quick to drop x86/i686 when all the other of the "big 7" distros (Debian Ubuntu Fedora openSUSE Arch Gentoo Slackware) (is that a standard or am I just making this up? I swear I saw this group referred to as the "big 7" somewhere before) still maintain i686 versions and others.

Now I want to know, is the dropping of i686 entirely a time/resource thing, or can some of the decision be attributed to the super bleeding-edge nature of Arch?

Last edited by MayhemWithMercy (2018-07-23 17:36:56)

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#4 2018-07-23 19:11:42

circleface
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Registered: 2012-05-26
Posts: 612

Re: Architecture General Question

One big reason 32 bit was dropped is because few of the developers had a 32 bit machine to test the packages on.

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#5 2018-07-23 19:17:54

jasonwryan
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From: .nz
Registered: 2009-05-09
Posts: 26,195
Website

Re: Architecture General Question


Arch + dwm   •   Mercurial repos  •   Github

Registered Linux User #482438

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#6 2018-07-23 19:32:42

MayhemWithMercy
Member
From: Ontario, Canada
Registered: 2018-06-03
Posts: 11

Re: Architecture General Question

Interesting. Thanks for the resource. So I take it Arch's dev team is just too small to effectively focus on more than one platform then? (not that that's a knock against Arch)

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#7 2018-07-23 19:38:48

jasonwryan
Anarchist
From: .nz
Registered: 2009-05-09
Posts: 26,195
Website

Re: Architecture General Question

In fairness, it is the only platform that counts.


Arch + dwm   •   Mercurial repos  •   Github

Registered Linux User #482438

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#8 2018-07-23 19:47:48

MayhemWithMercy
Member
From: Ontario, Canada
Registered: 2018-06-03
Posts: 11

Re: Architecture General Question

That's true. The only 32-bit machine I've seen any friends or family use is my stepdad still on his old i686 hp laptop from idk how many years ago. I wanna see how long it takes for other mainstream distros to give up on it finally. Ubuntu got rid of the 32-bit .iso on their site with 18.04 LTS but all the flavours still offer 32-bit .iso's meaning it's still actively developed. In fact I think Arch is the only "mainstream" distro that's exclusive to x86_64.

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#9 2018-07-23 20:12:08

ewaller
Administrator
From: Pasadena, CA
Registered: 2009-07-13
Posts: 16,270

Re: Architecture General Question

jasonwryan wrote:

In fairness, it is the only platform that counts.

Not counting ARM.   Regardless, that particular architecture is well covered by a fork of Arch Linux and has an active community to support it.


Nothing is too wonderful to be true, if it be consistent with the laws of nature -- Michael Faraday
Sometimes it is the people no one can imagine anything of who do the things no one can imagine. -- Alan Turing
---
How to Ask Questions the Smart Way

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#10 2018-07-23 20:22:40

MayhemWithMercy
Member
From: Ontario, Canada
Registered: 2018-06-03
Posts: 11

Re: Architecture General Question

How many developers are there anyway.
https://www.archlinux.org/people/developers/

Is this an exhaustive list?

That seems like not too many for an entire operating system.

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#11 2018-07-23 20:25:59

ewaller
Administrator
From: Pasadena, CA
Registered: 2009-07-13
Posts: 16,270

Re: Architecture General Question


Nothing is too wonderful to be true, if it be consistent with the laws of nature -- Michael Faraday
Sometimes it is the people no one can imagine anything of who do the things no one can imagine. -- Alan Turing
---
How to Ask Questions the Smart Way

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#12 2018-07-23 20:38:08

loqs
Member
Registered: 2014-03-06
Posts: 6,364

Re: Architecture General Question

Developers covers core and extra packages, trusted users covers community packages and moderating AUR,  support staff would covers forums, irc, bugs, security and infrastructure.
Although it is not as clear cut as that as individuals can have numerous roles.  As arch in general packages only upstream releases that reduces that amount of support issues
that are arch issues rather than upstream issues.

Last edited by loqs (2018-07-23 20:38:43)

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#13 2018-07-23 21:39:51

MayhemWithMercy
Member
From: Ontario, Canada
Registered: 2018-06-03
Posts: 11

Re: Architecture General Question

One of the good things about Arch imo. I see it compared to Ubuntu a lot (no idea why) but Arch does it better (for a modular system that can be easily repaired) in that regard.

Last edited by MayhemWithMercy (2018-07-23 21:43:34)

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