Jessie Countdown: 4

Four architectures – types of computing device that you can use to run Debian – didn’t make it through architecture qualification for Jessie and won’t be part of the official stable release this weekend.

It’s always difficult to see architectures go, particularly when there is still a community interested in maintaining support for them. Nevertheless, sometimes a port just doesn’t have enough momentum behind it or sufficient upstream interest from the toolchain to be economical. Whether a port is of sufficient quality for stable is a complex decision involving several different teams – Debian System Administration, the security team, those who maintain the auto-builder network, the release team, and so on – and will continue to affect them for several years.

It’s not all gloom though: new architectures in Jessie include arm64, ppc64el (a 64-bit version of powerpc) and s390x (replacing Wheezy’s s390). Architecture rotation can be healthy.

(source: ia64 and s390 were planned retirements following Wheezy, leaving hurd-i386, kfreebsd-i386, kfreebsd-amd64 and sparc which didn’t satisfy all qualification criteria by the time decisions had to be taken.)