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Re: Increasing minimum 'i386' processor

On Wed, Nov 23, 2011 at 07:20:11PM +0000, 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.  (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.

I think this lacks perspective. It is far too late to try to improve i386

Popularity-contest shows that i386 will not be the dominant architecture
before the time Wheezy is released. So we can expect that in Wheezy time,
i386 will be mostly a legacy platform used by older hardware and the vast
majority of i386 users will be people stuck with an older computer, more
interested by the continued support for their platform than by performance.  

Users seeking performance will use amd64, which offer more registers and
and a larger address space.

If we want to make a difference with performance, we should target the latest
amd64 hardware, not i386.

Bill. <ballombe@debian.org>

Imagine a large red swirl here. 

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