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Re: Defaulting to i686 for the Debian i386 architecture

question to the Hurd and KFreeBSD maintainers ... change that on these platforms too?

On 28.09.2015 23:14, Ben Hutchings wrote:
We propose to drop support for i386 processors older than 686-class in
the current release cycle.  This would include folding libc6-i686 into
libc6, changing the default target for gcc, and changing the 586 kernel
flavour to 686 (non-PAE).

Since the 686-class, introduced with the Pentium Pro, is now almost 20
years old, we believe there are few Debian systems still running that
have 586-class or hybrid processors.  The only such processors
apparently still available for sale are the DM&P Vortex86 family, Intel
Quark and Xeon Phi, of which we currently only support the Vortex86.
Indeed, the likely reasons for users to choose i386 over amd64 today
are to reduce memory consumption or to run i386 binaries for which the
source is not available - not because they're using 32-bit processors.

The older processors would of course continue to be supported in jessie
until at least 2018, and until 2020 if i386 is included in jessie LTS.

Maintaining support for these older processors hurts the Debian i386
architecture in several ways:
* Prevents optimisation for 686-class without run-time checks or
   multiple library builds
* Divergence from upstream code in various packages which often assume
   at least 686-class processors
* Can require user intervention to install optimised library packages
   e.g. debootstrap does not install libc6-i686

- Ben Hutchings
- Aurelien Jarno
- Matthias Klose

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