[Rpcemu] Information for users and developers

Peter Howkins rpcemu.howkins at marutan.net
Wed May 26 07:12:50 PDT 2010

On Wed, May 26, 2010 at 01:32:18PM +0100, Jim Lesurf wrote:
> That's Ok. I wasn't asking specifically for a solution as I've found an
> arrangement that works. The puzzle is that what works on another Crunchbang
> setup doesn't on the Xubuntu one. Even when I copy across the entire rpcemu
> directory. Yet all the other RO apps work fine on both. So a puzzle rather
> than a problem.

Out of curriosity, when you copied the files from one distro to another, 
did you recompile the binary, or use the binary from the first system?

> > Unfortuanately there are just too many versions of Linux (CPU
> > architecture (x86/x64/Sparc/ARM/Mips/etc), distribution
> > (Ubuntu/redhat/debian/puppy/gentoo/etc x 100), releases) to create a
> > universal binary that would run on all of them.
> I would suspect that at present a debian/unbuntu package would be useful
> for the largest portion of Linux users. Must confess that when I tried
> puppy I quickly decided it was a PITA compared with the Ubuntu versions,
> and ended up choosing Crunchbang for my ancient laptop. (Again IIUC a
> Ubuntu/debian type of distro.)

You're right in that an Ubuntu/Debian x86 binary would probably be the 
most common platform, but there's a lot of variation in ABI and potential 
really obscure compatability bugs that could be run into with a binary.

> > However if people are willing to contibute compiled binaries for their
> > favourite system (as Paul Stewart has done for Puppy Linux) we can host
> > them. For example would you be willing to help by compiling up a Ubuntu
> > binary for others to use?
> In principle, yes I'd be pleased to do that, or ar least give it a try!

I discuss this a little further down this post.

> That prompts me to ask: At present the above webpage gives a link to the
> non-spoon page on rpcemu. Is that OK as the best place to direct people to
> who have not previously known about RO and rpcemu?

Well, the riscos.info pages recently got tweaked to point at the spoon 
ones, so I don't think it's much of an issue. But feel free to update if 
you want.

> In terms of support I'd suspect I may be most useful in terms of trying out
> things and then writing articles and documents to attract/encourage/enable
> users. Afraid my programming skills are minor - particularly on Linux!
> However I am currently in the process of writing some ROX and perhaps more
> rpcemu items for 'Archive' which should also eventually appear on the web.

>From a personal point of view, something that appears in Archive isn't a 
replacement for proper documentation. If you can give me an idea of 
which areas of the documents (on the website) arn't up to scratch I'll 
have a go at rewriting them, or feel free to to investigate this 

> Would it help clarify if we collected a list of 'what works and what
> crashes' in terms of RO apps, etc? I am still myself confused about this,
> and about which versions of RO work OK or not.

Perhaps, but such a list would get very long, and take a lot of effort to 
maintain (after each release you'd really want to check the software 
againt to see if anything new worked, or something broke). If someone is 
willing to put the time in, I'd do everything I could to encourage them 
:) (and send in my list of known working apps).

> If someone can outline what would be involved in producing something like a
> binary pakage for Ubuntu (and hence I assume debian) I can then decide if I
> am up to trying that. At present I have no idea if I would be capable. In
> the meantime, when I get the necessary 'round tuit' I'll try installing the
> latest sourced spoon version and see how I get on.

Doing a full system wide install on a multi-user system like Linux and 
then preparing a suitable Ubuntu 'package' is very very hard work, and 
would require quite a lot source code changes [1].

However doing a 'binary' user-space archive that people could install in 
their own home directories would not be too complex (it's basically a 
.tar.gz of a rpcemu directory after the compile has finished). Statically
linking the compile would avoid the need for people to install the allegro 
libraries (and other dependancies). This could probably be done straight 
away, but I'm not sure it's that useful to people? As a Linux user myself 
I normally expect things to be in my distros packaging system, or 
something I compile myself. Anyone else think such a user-space install 
would be useful? My worry about binary release such as this is that 
people would try to use it on lots of different systems that might be 
slightly incompatible, increasing the support load considerably.


[1] Quite a lot of though has already gone into this, issues such as 
running multiple copies at once, copies run by different users, locations 
of files (what has to be in user filespace, what *can* live in system 
(not much)).

Peter Howkins
peter.howkins at marutan.net

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