||amd64, armel, alpha, m68k. Basically everything that uses
the Linux kernel.
||hurd, opensolaris, kfreebsd. Ports that do not use the
Linux kernel, but their own.
A new architecture has to follow the Rules for new architectures,
and answer all Questions for new architectures.
A new OS has to follow the Rules for new architectures and
answer all Questions for new architectures as well as all
Further questions for OSes.
To have the answers all at one location, please create a page below
Rules for existing architectures
- If an architecture fails to be included in 2 successive
official releases, it is moved out of the official archive (and
away from the ftp-master.debian.org host).
- If a removed architecture later can prove it will be able to
make the next official release, it can be re-included into the
official archive. This step additionally needs the acceptance of
the Security, the Release and the Debian Admin Team. (It needs
security autobuilders, porter machines, etc.)
Rules for new architectures
- A newly included architecture has to be completely built using
packages available in plain Debian sources. External patches cannot
- At the time of inclusion a minimal set of binary packages will be
imported into the archive, just enough to get build-essential ready to
go and an official buildd setup and running. Everything else will be
rebuilt from scratch. As soon as enough is rebuilt to get the initial
toolchain built using "native" Debian, this will be rebuilt too.
- The packages imported from external source and used for the initial
build run must be signed by one of the lead porters, who must be a DD.
- There must be at least two machines ready to be maintained
by the Debian System Administrators, so at the start of its
lifetime there will be at least one buildd and one porter machine.
The inclusion into the archive will almost certainly happen before
the machines are handed over to DSA, but this should happen as
soon as feasible afterwards.
(Note that this is the minimum to get into the archive. The release team
may have additional requirements to allow the architecture to release, so
there would normally need to be more machines, especially more
Note: The machines, their setup and hosting etc should be
coordinated with DSA and needs to be acceptable to DSA. Please
them, they might be able to help you in more ways
you can imagine, but at least they can help to avoid useless work
if a hosting wouldnt be acceptable. :)
Questions for new architectures
- Are machines available to buy for the general public?
- Is full source available?
- Is this architecture related to other architectures already in
the archive, or that also should be considered, either now or in
the future? Can the related architectures be supported in a single
architecture (eg, with a biarch arrangement)?
- Are there 3 or more developers (or NMs) actively maintaining
the port? Who are they?
- What sort of architecture is this? Desktop/workstation?
Mainframe/supercomputer? Embedded? Something else?
- Does it have any users? If a desktop system, are there Debian
admins who run Debian systems on the arch? If an embedded system
are there real systems shipping that a Debian port will be useful
for? If a mainframe system are there real systems with many users
that a Debian port will be useful for? Who are they?
- Is there kernel and toolchain support? At what level? Are the
latest versions supported, or are legacy releases required for
compatability with some hardware?
- Has the ABI stabalised, or are there major ABI changes coming
up? Is the ABI stable enough to ensure users will be able just
"apt-get dist-upgrade" from one version to the next?
- How do you install a system? (URL to a HOWTO)
- Has a buildd been setup? How much of the archive has been
built (count by source package, builds of old versions are fine
for this case)?
- What hardware is potentially available as a fast buildd?
- Is there an example box developers can login to to see if it
It's also worth considering whether the port has any special
requirements. If the port is mainly for embedded systems, it may be
appropriate to have different installation or release arrangements
compared to normal desktop/workstation architectures.
Further questions for OSes
- Are there existing comprehensive free distributions of this OS? If
so, why is a Debian distribution useful?
- What demonstrable benefits does this OS have over existing
- Does this system have a standard Unix API?
- Does the OS support modern glibc and gcc?
- What is the license on the kernel and core libraries? Is the license
free? Is the license GPL compatible? (Note that if it's not free, distributing
the software violates the Social Contract; and if it's not GPL compatible,
GPL software such as dpkg can't be linked to it)
- Does the OS build largely without source changes? If so, what proportion of
the archive has built?
It's worth thinking about whether it makes sense to integrate the
port with Debian's Linux-based distribution -- having separate sources
may not only reduce the impact on the release architectures, but also
make it easier to do development on the new OS as well.
Note that if significant changes are needed to more than just a small
number of packages, your porting team will not only need to provide
patches for most of those changes and make sure they work, but also
ensure they don't cause problems for existing ports.