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

On Wed, Jun 25, 2003 at 04:55:56AM -0400, Colin Walters wrote:
> On Wed, 2003-06-25 at 03:52, Branden Robinson wrote:
> > I believe it would be a mistake to kill off support for the 80386 chip.
> Well, we're limited by what we can sanely support.  After all, we don't
> support running Debian on a 286.  The 386 is really in the same class
> nowadays, in my opinion anyways.  

I disagree. Unlike 286, we've got the kernel, the libc, and *almost*
everything else. The only thing missing is part of the C++ ABI, which as
described can be handled by a small kernel patch (at least this has been
claimed and nobody has immediately said "it's impossible" ...).

I don't think this one lack puts it straight into the 286 camp just yet.

> We should foist the job of supporting i386 onto some specialized Debian
> port for it.

The problem is that we really don't have sensible support for
subarchitectures at all. This makes the job of creating such a
specialized port much greater than just "I have some hardware and need
to make a small tweak to support it"; you need to patch dpkg and make
substantial changes in the archive organization to share packages
between architectures, or else take a multi-gigabyte hit in disk space
and a huge amount of pointless effort rebuilding packages for some new
'i386only' architecture. 386 people would be quite entitled to look at
all this mess and say "well, why don't you just leave everything as it
is and let us make this small kernel change, until we can standardize on
gcc-3.3 with a fixed ABI"?


Colin Watson                                  [cjwatson@flatline.org.uk]

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