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Help making a decision on re-basing Slackware ARM from armv4 to armv5


Firstly no, I haven't gone mad asking the question here -- I hope! :-)

The Slackware ARM port rides on some of Debian ARM's coat tails -
specifically regarding patches for glibc, gcc and some Mozilla apps -- and
I've digested the extensive Debian documentation when deciding what to do
about migrating from legacy to EABI: I value the Debian developers'
opinions on all things ARM.
Slackware ARM's userland is equivalent to Debian armel.

Slackware, like Debian is a general purpose OS aiming to meet most users'
needs on the common denominator hardware -- which on ARM is armv4.
Debian's armel port has a user base vastly larger than Slackware ARM's,
and as such the baseline will (I assume) remain at armv4 because there are
many devices out there that have such CPUs - and nobody wants to isolate
such a large number of users.

Slackware ARM's user base is currently much smaller and so there's less
risk/less people to upset by dropping support for armv4.

I'm interested in some rough ideas about whether it's worth rebasing the
whole distribution from armv4t to armv5t.  This way I can support the most
popular 'low end' Plug computers which I believe is mostly what the
userbase currently uses -- and similar systems that have armv5 CPUs and higher.

Will there be much of a performance difference for regular server-type
workloads (e.g. file serving etc) as distinct from playing media and
desktop usage with web browsers etc?
Also, will an OS compiled for armv5 perform better on armv7 hardware?

My understanding is that only certain workloads -- e.g. playing video -- would
benefit from compiling for armv5.

If there's very little to be gained performance wise by changing the
baseline then it's not worth the time and effort in doing so - especially
since it will no longer run on older ARM devices.

Thanks in advance for any ideas -- just rough instinctive feelings are all
I'm after (unless somone does have any actual figures of running Debian
armel userland compiled for armv4 vs armel compiled for armv5).


Stuart Winter
Slackware ARM: www.armedslack.org

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