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Re: What does i386 exactly mean?

On Monday January 31 2005 15:21, andras.lorincz@gmail.com wrote:
> The debian packages contain in their names i386. That means, as far as I
> know, that these programs are compiled to be able to run on at least on
> intel 386 processors. But does it also mean that if are run on newer
> machines, they run slower because don't exploit the capabilities of the
> newer processors?

Yes, that's essentially true.

> Is it worth to compile the packages before installing them, and if so are
> there any configurations to be made to get a more optimized binary?

For most packages, it really doesn't matter. It doesn't make much sense to 
have a shell or about any other interactive program use MMX and SSE 
extensions since those programs spend 99.9% of their time waiting for user 

There are some rare cases where a customized build will offer an advantage, 
all of them CPU intensive programs like raytracers, graphics applications, 
A/V codecs and games. Usually simply building a package from the debian 
sources will apply the correct processor-specific extensions, but it doesn't 
hurt to look through the debian/rules file before a build.

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