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Re: Debian vs Gentoo versatility (NOT PERFORMANCE)

On Mon, 19 May 2003 13:33:41 -0700
Mark Ferlatte <ferlatte@cryptio.net> wrote:

> Yes.  This comes up constantly.  If you can demonstrate a repeatable
> improvement in end-user experienced speed by recompiling libc, then we'll be
> able to have a conversation.

In my short time, I have seen this discusion several times on this list and used to agree, but now I cannot see why debian is still compiling to 386 for the Intel platform.

Did you see that Debian Weekly News a while ago, about how libstdc++ now compiles (by defualt, there are patches) to 486 and up?  In addition, the conversation that resulted showed that it was unclear and difficult at best whether Debian could compile libstdc++ to 386 and remain compatable with other distributions.  Plus, it stated that there were significant benifits to moving to 486.  People really need to open up and move forward on this issue.

I know some will say that recompiling only matters for performance critical applications, and those are recompiled anyway, but almost everything depends on libstdc++ and libc.  And if these applications are mainly making library calls, thier library calls will be unoptimized.  Additionally, just becuase someone is not running a statistical workstation that does not mean that optimization will be lost on them.  Even though I run a P3 800 mhz laptop with 256mb of ram, gtk2 apps display kind of slow sometimes.  I thought this was becuase of my machine, but now I am starting to suspect that this could be the optimization level too.

Are you running a 386?

That Debian devel discussion also shows that very few, if anyone, uses a 386; it also mentions that there were some 486 computers in wide spread use.  I feel Debian should compile to 586 and let the 386 and 486 users have a sub-project.  It would not surprise me if most 486 computers could not run a large percentage of Debian applications in any resonalble time frame.  Why should everyone else suffer becuase they cannot?  Debian can still have a smaller distro for them, while everyone else benifits from greater optimization.

One of the things that I like best about Debian is that the developers take great care in maintaining compatability in areas that people would not care or even know to think about.  Yet, I feel that 386 (and most likely 486 as well) definitely should and can go (or atlest move out of the way).

>  Otherwise, read the archives; this comes up
> fairly often.

I see no reason why this conversation should not be had again, in fact it may come up so often because something should be done here.

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