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James Troup

The Debian Build Daemon.

The Debian GNU/Linux distribution currently supports seven different architectures, but the vast majority of package maintainers only compile binary versions for the Intel i386 port. Developers for other architectures have to watch out for new versions of packages and recompile them if they want to stay up-to-date with the i386 distribution.

When Debian/m68k (the first non-i386 port) started, all this was done manually: One watches the upload mailing list for new packages and picks some of them out to try and build. Coordination to ensure that no package is built twice by different people was done by announcing what one was building on a mailing list. It's obvious that this procedure is error-prone and time-consuming. This has been the usual way for keeping non-i386 distributions current for a long time.

The build daemon system automates most of this process. It consists of a set of scripts (written in Perl and Python) and programs that have evolved over time to help porters with various tasks. They have finally developed into a system that is able to keep non-i386 Debian distributions up-to-date nearly automatically.


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