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Re: Bug#198158: architecture i386 isn't i386 anymore

On Fri, 20 Jun 2003 23:40:13 +0200, Cyrille Chepelov wrote:

>> I'd drop the sub-pentiums (i.e. 386 and 486) entirely. Not that my vote
>> would count...
> Hmmm. Until all of glibc, the kernel and gcc deprecate and discard
> support for 386 and 486,

One of them is enough to be a showstopper.

> I'd love if I could keep my home edgge router running the way it is
> thank you very much (and I'm happy with the great job the Security Team
> is doing). Not that the flea market value of a Pentium Classic is that
> high nowadays, but why fix what works? I thought Free Software was above
> planned obsolescence...

Sure it's nice when you can use old hardware until it breaks, not until
company XYZ wants to charge for new licenses.

> (note that if there is a compelling technical reason for forking i386
> into i386-proper and i686, I'm happy with it. Have you seen it? I
> haven't so far.)

IANAIAP (I am not an i386 assembler programmer), but if the illegal
instruction workaround which was proposed in this thread _does_ work, it
would probably turn out to be the best solution. Makes your old box run
Quake 3 ;-) and the guys running a 486+ kernel won't need to pay for it.
Would it hurt the i386's performance too hard?

A general solution to the problem would be nice. I don't know about other
arch's, but Intel and AMD are inventing new instructions faster than new
processor designs. Makes me wonder how a multi-architecture distro like
Debian is supposed to handle that. Is there something like automatic
detection of the "best" codepath given the limitations of the current CPU?
Not sure what effect something like that would have on binary sizes and
build times though...

(And no, I'm not demanding P4-optimized word processors here! Optimization
has to be restricted to packages where it really speeds up things.)

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