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Re: Increasing minimum 'i386' processor

On 11/19/2011 11:42 PM, Ben Hutchings wrote:
> The i386 architecture was the first in Linux and in Debian, but we have
> long since dropped support for the original i386-compatible processors
> and now require a minimum of a 486-class processor.
> I think it is time to increase the minimum requirement to 586-class, if
> not for wheezy then immediately after.

note that squeeze is built this way, and single packages like openjdk only build
for 586.

> (Later it should be increased
> further, and eventually i386 should be reduced to a partial architecture
> that may be installed on amd64 systems.)  This would allow the use of
> optimisations and new instructions throughout userland that improve
> performance for the vast majority of users.

could you give numbers what kind of improvements you would expect?  The biggest
burden for i386 is the register pressure, which you won't fix with targeting a
newer processor.  The better approach would be a new port, the x32 architecture;
I don't know if anybody did look into building a distribution for this
architecture yet.  The next thing could be to default to sse2 math instead of
x87 (didn't look if this is already the default for x32).


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