We propose to drop support for i386 processors older than 686-class in the current release cycle. This would include folding libc6-i686 into libc6, changing the default target for gcc, and changing the 586 kernel flavour to 686 (non-PAE). Since the 686-class, introduced with the Pentium Pro, is now almost 20 years old, we believe there are few Debian systems still running that have 586-class or hybrid processors. The only such processors apparently still available for sale are the DM&P Vortex86 family, Intel Quark and Xeon Phi, of which we currently only support the Vortex86. Indeed, the likely reasons for users to choose i386 over amd64 today are to reduce memory consumption or to run i386 binaries for which the source is not available - not because they're using 32-bit processors. The older processors would of course continue to be supported in jessie until at least 2018, and until 2020 if i386 is included in jessie LTS. Maintaining support for these older processors hurts the Debian i386 architecture in several ways: * Prevents optimisation for 686-class without run-time checks or multiple library builds * Divergence from upstream code in various packages which often assume at least 686-class processors * Can require user intervention to install optimised library packages e.g. debootstrap does not install libc6-i686 - Ben Hutchings - Aurelien Jarno - Matthias Klose -- Ben Hutchings All extremists should be taken out and shot.
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