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Re: What does i386 exactly mean?

On Mon, 31 Jan 2005 16:21:35 +0200
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? 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?

Theoretically they would run faster if you compile them to your own machine.
Thats the approach gentoo takes, but it can be a serious pain to do so. In
practice you would probably gain very little, possibly around a couple of
percent improvement, depending on the program and you would have to play with
the settings, as just recompiling the programs isn't enough, you need to set the
right flags. With most programs it not the easy.

Most of the few that do enjoy improvement are supplied with several versions for
different platforms (mplayer from merillat for example). Other such as gimp are
not. There are also some math libraries that are supplied in several versions
and they are the ones that benefit the most.

You may want to look into apt-build though, it may do what you want for the few
packages that can gain from it.

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