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Re: What is Debian GNU/Linux like on an Alpha?

Luke Seubert (lseubert@Radix.Net) wrote:

> Good day all,


> I am presently running Debian on my Celeron home computer, but would
> like to experiment with a 21164 based Alpha workstation.  Any advice
> from the Debian Alpha community would be much appreciated.


> Packages:  Having researched Paul Slootman's Alpha/i386 diffs page (
> http://auric.debian.org/~paul/alpha/diff/ ), it seems that the stable
> potato release of Alpha had roughly 116 fewer packages than the i396
> release.  This seems pretty good overall.  Does Debian Alpha usually
> keep up with the i386 packages this well?  Are there any major packages
> missing from the Alpha distro?

Yes. Some of those packages are i386 specific and a few will not
compile (for one reason or another) on Alpha.

> Compiling:  My understanding is that the compiler released by Digital
> for use with Linux does a much better job of compiling than the standard
> GCC compiler - resulting in much faster code.  Are the binaries compiled
> for the Debian Alpha distribution made using the Digital compiler, or GCC?

CCC (Compaq C Compiler) does do a better job at most things vs
GCC. Packages are made using GCC. CCC is non-free (but still very cool).

> Desktop practicality: Since this would be a home computer, the Debian
> Alpha system would mostly be used for web browsing, email, word
> processing, playing CDs, etc.  No game playing though.  While I know
> that Alphas are superb scientific and engineering workstations, how well
> do they manage in this sort of home user role?

I use mine for this daily, I couldn't imagine doing it on another
platform... Although for Netscape (pre6.0 stuff) you have to use the
Tru64 UNIX bins + libs. Which is non-free, but works great! (see my
old, old, old articles on alphalinux.org)

Email: <mailto:rbf@farrer.net>, <mailto:rbf@debian.org>
Home:  <http://www.farrer.net/~rbf/>

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