Saturday, December 22, 2007

bluefish-unstable packages ready for testing

I promised it some time ago and now it has been done: Debian packages for the development tree (1.1 series) of Bluefish are ready for Debian users and called bluefish-unstable. The packages can be installed along with the stable version, so you can safely test new features and give us feedback and bug reports.


The packages cannot be (re)built on Etch, because debhelper version 5.0.57 or higher is necessary. I will fix this part of debian/rules soon, so it can be (re)built on Etch too.

docbook-defguide - solving performance and timing issues with native code

Some days ago I wrote down my experiences with packaging docbook-defguide. The main (remaining) issues I mentioned were the resources and the time the package needs to build. Even on an AMD X2 4600+ with 6GB of RAM it needs 7-8 hours.

Today I met with Torsten Werner. He mentioned, that there are some move JVMs I could try. So I tested alternatives to GIJ this night. I found this short summary about free JVMs, which was some kind of interesting.

I began with cacao, which seemed to be fast, but it was killed very early in the build process with an java.lang.OutOfMemory error. Even playing around with the -Xms and -Xmx switches in buildtools/ did not help. So I dropped cacao from the list. Seems both cacao and kaffe create similar problems here and are not suitable for building the package.

Second alternative I tried was sablevm. It directly throw out some warnings or errors so I directly dropped it too.

Next JVM was jamvm. But it was as slow as GIJ. So I dropped it from the list of alternatives too.

Then I found an interesting statement in the article I linked somewhere above. The author said, that his perfomance test time with GCJ/GIJ reduced from 433 to 9 seconds, when he compiled his application into a native executable. So I took a fast look through the docbook-defguide build dependencies and found, that Debian already provides a natively compiled Xerces package libxerces2-java-gcj. But there were no packages for libsaxon-java, libxml-commons-resolver1.1-java and docbook-xsl-saxon. So short and dirty: I downloaded the source for these packages, added the necessary stuff to get natively compiled packages too, built and installed them. Fortunately packages with native code already exist for their dependencies JAXP 1.3 and Xerces.

And what should I say: Now building the TDG needs less then 512MB RAM and it builds in around an hour ... even on my system. I will ask the Debian Java maintainers to add -gcj packages for Saxon and XML-Commons and fix my own docbook-xsl-saxon package. This will hopefully help maintaining docbook-defguide.

Monday, December 17, 2007

FYI: docbook-defguide 2.0.17 ready - Sun Java vs. GIJ building the package

Ok guys. After spending several hours of this weekend to package the latest release of Norman Walshs DocBook: The Definitive Guide, I'm now proud to tell you: It's done!

I was able to build the package with the free Java engine (GIJ) so docbook-defguide can stay in main. However, it was some kind of disappointing: Sun Java needs an hour and a maximum heapsize of 512MB to build the package on my system. GIJ needs 16 hours and a maximum heap size of 1GB to build. kaffe, which I tried too, fails much earlier than GIJ with a maximum heap size of 512MB. So I decided against it and for GIJ.

If you know of a way to speed up the build process (besides the possibility to buy a faster system ... except you want to make it your christmas or birthday present for me *g*), don't hesitate to tell me. The packaging files are in the Debian XML/SGML groups SVN repository.

However, expect the package in your Debian repository soon (guess, my sponsor wants to rebuild it, which may need another 1x hours :)).


Ardo van Rangelrooij kindly offered to build the package on an AMD X2 4600+ with 6GB. The build time decreased to at least 7-8 hours. The package will be uploaded to the Debian archive within the next days.