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Re: [crosspost] dropping support for ia64

I used to daily drive my own zx6000 (and had a zx2000 and rx5670 as well) back in 2008-2012. I was running Gentoo Linux on it and it was for the most part fine. I got Firefox 9 working and even Minecraft! What I've observed is that GCC's support for ia64 seems to have bit rotted over time (I've encountered internal compiler errors over the years on seemingly standard C++ code). 

While I still have the zx6000, I haven't booted in at least 5 years. I don't fully trust contemporary versions of GCC to not generate potentially garbage code (unless things have changed).  

As an formerly avid ia64 user, I am apathetic to the platform at this point. If you decided to drop it, I wouldn't blame you at all. 

On Sat, May 20, 2023, 10:42 Florian Weimer <fw%deneb.enyo.de@localhost> wrote:
* matoro:

> There is no user-mode emulation for ia64 in QEMU either.  The only
> "ongoing" emulation work is Sergei's fork of the old "ski" emulator, but
> this is far from QEMU quality or even usable yet: 
> https://github.com/trofi/ski

Yeah, I must have misremembered.  Awkward.

So it's a really exclusive club, which makes continued maintenance
efforts even more doubtful.

> Anyway, to summarize this thread for Ard:  the answer to the question of
> if anybody is using these machines for anything other than to
> experimentally see if things run or churn out packages is NO.  Any
> Itanium machines running useful production workloads are on HP-UX/VMS. 
> Possibly Windows Server 2008 or an old RHEL, but unlikely.

RHEL 6 didn't have ia64 anymore.  RHEL 5 is out of support.  In any
case, the last thing such customers would want (if they existed) is a
rebase from 2.6.18 to a 6.x kernel, or a toolchain upgrade for that
matter.  So what we do to current versions really does not matter to
hypothetical commercial ia64 Linux users.

> The only argument for continued support is as you described, the
> argument from the commons, that the ecosystem as a whole benefits from
> diversity of architectures.  All that matters is whether you find this
> argument convincing.  There are some like myself who do, but I am not a
> kernel maintainer.  If you don't, then that should be that.

Some of the variance/diversity isn't actually necessary, though.  It's
just that ia64 has some half-done stuff in the tools that no one
bothered to fix, creating complexities elsewhere.

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