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Re: Defaulting to i686 for the Debian i386 architecture


Ben Hutchings wrote:
> 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).

Please don't. It already hurt that i486 support was dropped with
Jessie and i468SX (Vortex86 SX, http://www.vortex86.com/?p=145) with
IIRC Wheezy.

> 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.

I own several of Vortex86 based machines and we also have some at work
as backend for some 40" displays which show upcoming events running
iceweasel in fullscreen mode and ratpoison as invisible window
manager, running Debian:
https://people.phys.ethz.ch/~abe/MicroClientJr/ (texts in German)

I also have a Thinkpad 760ED (Pentium 1) running Debian 8 Jessie. With
self-compiled X driver (xserver-xorg-video-trident), because it was
unfortunately RM'ed for no real reason (no RC bugs, nothing, the new
upstream releases still compile and work fine on Jessie) and I noticed
it only after the Jessie release.

> 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.

That's what x32 is meant for. Please keep i386 for legacy hardware and
propagate x32 for such purposes.

> * Can require user intervention to install optimised library packages
>   e.g. debootstrap does not install libc6-i686

That's a debootstrap issue then IMHO.

		Regards, Axel
 ,''`.  |  Axel Beckert <abe@debian.org>, http://people.debian.org/~abe/
: :' :  |  Debian Developer, ftp.ch.debian.org Admin
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