The Debian Linux distribution now has an official 64-bit RISC-V bootstrap in its ports infrastructure, allowing packages to be easily downloaded for use on the growing number of RISC-V devices on the market.

“We’ve been working in the last few weeks to do a (second) bootstrap of Debian for RISC-V, and after a few weeks of hard work it is now bootstrapped and has been imported into the Debian infrastructure, in particular, debian-ports,” explains Manuel Montezelo in the announcement post. “All packages that are uploaded to the archive by any of the hundreds/thousands of contributors are attempted to be built for each one of the architectures/ABIs almost immediately, so having ‘riscv64’ [64-bit RISC-V] as a Debian architecture is a quite critical step.

“This means that, from now on, anybody can download .deb packages targeted for riscv64 (rv64gc, to be precise) which compile successfully, often only a few hours after being uploaded to the archive (as long as their build-dependencies are satisfied). So we hope that this is a valuable resource, and that it helps to continue the development of RISC-V hardware, and that you can run it on your devices in the near future.”

As of the start of the week, around 4,100 packages – greater than 30 percent of the source available which is not architecture-dependent – had been successfully built, with architecture-independent packages bringing the compatibility up to around 65 to 70 percent of the complete Debian package archive. The whole build process, Manuel explains, is entirely automated, and is based on emulating RISC-V in software via qemu on Debian’s existing build infrastructure.

More information on the port is available on Manuel’s website.