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Re: i386 compatibility & libstdc++

On Sat, Apr 26, 2003 at 02:56:13AM -0500, Chris Cheney wrote:

> I also find it hard to believe that the majority of our users do not
> have or can not purchase a system that is less than 7 years old.

That's really not so relevant, even if correct. If they already have
a shitload of Pentiums which will do the job, why force them to buy
anything newer?

> Being
> that is how old the i686 sub-arch is... I once attempted to install
> Debian 2.1 on a Pentium 90, it took many hours and was a pita to say the
> least.

Heh. I once (no, twice) installed on a 486-50 with 4MB of RAM... :-P
I can't remember whether that was slink, or whether I got hold of slink
after being suitably impressed with the results (had to leave dselect
running^Wthrashing for round about 36 hours, I think, for the initial
install ;) ).

That's actually what got me started moving from slackware to Debian...

Anyway, back to the point.

> Machines old enough to be before i686 are probably also old
> enough to be barely usable as a desktop,

I think you'll find they'll do just fine in all sorts of roles.
Perhaps not as a whizzy desktop running the latest greatest KDE or Gnome
(resisting the temptation, see ;) ), but certainly running X (although
I must admit XFree >= 4 is a real memory hog compared to previous

> What are the theoretical binary-only
> apps that these desktops would be using, whizbang 3d games, multimedia
> players, or something else?

Whizbang 3d games and multimedia players are not the only things that
people write in C++.

> A reduced size 386-586 arch wouldn't be bad
> for a server, which imho is about all machines that old are really good
> for anyway. (And no Manoj I am not attempting to troll with this post...)

See, I think this is where you're just fundamentally mistaken.

> In Dec 1994 I got my P90 with the biggest available ide hard drive
> which was 500MB.

:-P No it wasn't. You must have been shopping in the wrong places.
I got my 486DX66 with a 504MB drive in mid '93 and had the option of
a bigger one (~1G I think, but can't remember exactly)...

> Compare that size to what sid currently requires for
> various installs:
> sid chroot           install - 160MB
> sid standard         install - 249MB

Perfectly fine. I think I'll have to finish the install on this P200MMX
I have sitting under my desk here just to see how big it does end up.

> The point being Debian sid with only one of the standard desktops (with
> no extra packages and no swap space) is already bigger than most
> machines from 1995 and older can support unmodified anyway...

Whilst I don't see that the "standard desktops" are at all essential to
a productive setup, I will agree that it is a shame how large the
standard installs are getting. I think there will come a point where
it is more useful to have a separate distribution or meta-distribution
for older systems (with a sensible-sized libc, for example) than to
stick with a "one size fits all" approach. I just don't think that with
the quantity of Pentium-class machines out there that we've got to that
point just yet.



Nick Phillips -- nwp@lemon-computing.com
Give him an evasive answer.

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