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Re: Debian on a 386? Unlikely. (was: ramblings about old hardware, gzip, bz2, and pentium opts)

On Tue, 7 Dec 1999, Ben Armstrong wrote:

> On Tue, 7 Dec 1999, Franklin Belew wrote:
> > My main concern is that the optimizations are going to be too intel centric
> > I know for a fact that if you compile a program with -mpentium-pro
> > it faults in nasty ways on an AMD k6. Are you proposing that 
> > Intel P2, Celeron, and PIII are the only worthwhile propcessors, or just that
> > anyone besides Intel is unimportant?
> I certainly didn't mean to limit the approach to specific processors.

well, it's the same problem for Sparc for example: should i optimize
for v7 arch or for v8+?

> It seems the limiting factors are:
> 1. alternate processors would need to have binaries automatically
>    built for them in a trouble-free (or low-maintenance) way
>    - if this is not acheivable, it is not worthwhile, and we
>      should stick with 386 as the lowest common denominator

the only sensible approach, imho, is:

1. debian is 386 (v7 for SPARC, ditto for other architectures) compatible

2. apt/dpkg/deb should be advanced so there is very easy way to build 
   particulary optimized binaries from the source package.

3. some gcc alteration (separate libgcc.a/spec?)

if you want to build pIII optimized package, you probably
have pIII floating around so you could spare minute or two to build 
the package

> 2. we need web space for each new processor for which binaries
>    are optimized

that leads to insanity
> 3. we need to consider how much space the mirrors have for all this stuff

> This is probably not a new suggestion, but perhaps this should be solved
> totally outside of the official Debian release as has been done with
> RedHat/Mandrake.  The "Vanilla" Debian release would continue to support
> as far back as 386, and as the time/resources of other outside groups
> allow, there can be different "optimized" distros based on Debian for the
> niche market of consumers wishing to take full advantage of their
> processors.

i'm not familiar with Mandrake, but how they're handle classical
pentium/ppro/pIII difference? Now when Athlon with 3 fp pipelines
is coming en masse, what mandrake will do?

just curious

> For the time being, however, I think it's just the wrong focus altogether
> for the core Debian development effort to be even *considering*
> optimization.

source builds are worth considering themself - it will solve the
"optimization" request as side effect

> Ben


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