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 Forum index » Taking the Puppy out for a walk » Announcements
Debian Dropping Support For Older CPUs
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anikin

Joined: 10 May 2012
Posts: 1020

PostPosted: Tue 07 Jun 2016, 04:34    Post subject:  Debian Dropping Support For Older CPUs  

Debian i386 architecture now requires a 686-class processor
Date: Sat, 07 May 2016

Last year it was decided to increase the minimum CPU features for the i386 architecture to 686-class in the stretch release cycle. This means dropping support for 586-class and hybrid 586/686 processors[1].(Support for 486-class processors was dropped, somewhat accidentally, in squeeze.)

This was implemented in the Linux kernel packages starting with Linux 4.3, which was uploaded to unstable in December last year.

In case you missed that change, gcc for i386 has recently been changed to target 686-class processors and is generating code that will crash on other processors. Any such systems still running testing or unstable will need to be switched to run stable (jessie).

The older processors will continue to be supported in jessie until at least 2018, and until 2020 if i386 is included in jessie LTS.

[1] The following processors, supported in jessie, are now unspported:

* AMD K5, K6, K6-2 (aka K6 3D), K6-3
* DM&P/SiS Vortex86, Vortex86SX
* Cyrix III, MediaGX, MediaGXm
* IDT Winchip C6, Winchip 2
* Intel Pentium, Pentium with MMX
* Rise mP6
* VIA C3 'Samuel 2', C3 'Ezra'
--
Ben Hutchings
https://lists.debian.org/debian-devel-announce/2016/05/msg00001.html

Last edited by anikin on Sat 11 Jun 2016, 10:09; edited 2 times in total
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musher0

Joined: 04 Jan 2009
Posts: 12845
Location: Gatineau (Qc), Canada

PostPosted: Tue 07 Jun 2016, 08:30    Post subject:  

You're late.
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anikin

Joined: 10 May 2012
Posts: 1020

PostPosted: Tue 07 Jun 2016, 09:38    Post subject:  

musher0 wrote:
You're late.
No, I'm not.

This move by Debian has nothing to do with ramblings about 32-bit vs 64-bit.
It's about cleaning the barn, streamlining the code, getting rid of redundancy, making Debian a *true i686* distro, like Arch Linux, or Ubuntu. A very welcome and long overdue decision! As an example, Debian Wheezy (and Jessie) in addition to its stock libc6 package https://packages.debian.org/wheezy/libc6 keeps a parallel set of glibc *optimized for i686* https://packages.debian.org/wheezy/libc6-i686 - not an elegant solution! Starting with Stretch, glibc will default to i686, which means leaner, meaner, faster, more robust code and more binary compatibility with Ubuntu packages, among other things.

Last edited by anikin on Sat 11 Jun 2016, 10:10; edited 1 time in total
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jlst

Joined: 23 Nov 2012
Posts: 571

PostPosted: Tue 07 Jun 2016, 13:53    Post subject:  

Well, as far as I know a Pentium III is i686

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/P6_(microarchitecture)

I mean, when we're talking about i386, we're talking about the beginning of time before creation
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anikin

Joined: 10 May 2012
Posts: 1020

PostPosted: Sat 11 Jun 2016, 10:05    Post subject:  

Defaulting to i686 for the Debian i386 architecture
Date: Mon, 28 Sep 2015

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
https://lists.debian.org/debian-devel/2015/09/msg00589.html
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anikin

Joined: 10 May 2012
Posts: 1020

PostPosted: Sat 11 Jun 2016, 10:08    Post subject:  

I've added the above post for the sake of completeness. As you will see, the change didn't occur all of a sudden. Initially there was some exchange of ideas among Debian developers. Have a look at the follow-up posts to better understand the reasoning and arguments expressed by knowledgeable folks.
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gcmartin

Joined: 14 Oct 2005
Posts: 6730
Location: Earth

PostPosted: Sat 11 Jun 2016, 12:11    Post subject:  

Some distros on DistroWatch have already begun to focus their attention on 64bit units. As mentioned by @Anikin, PPro is over 20 years old, while 64bit consumer units are now over a decade old. Further it requires resources to be spent maintain support of really old architectures.

This is NOT a post to suggest throwing out the baby for the bathwater. Instead, it merely draws attention to movements and some references as to why the movement occurres.

One last item of note: Current and past distros still continue, today, to function and function well on the hardware it was built for in the past. They are still available. Even all of past PUP distro are available and many members are still running their PUP distros of 2008 on 32bit hardware.

So, given this, we should not be too concerned that industry is moving in the directions that are. Old stuff still works!

Be proud. But, dont let movement be a distractor.

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learnhow2code

Joined: 12 Jun 2016
Posts: 1015

PostPosted: Sun 12 Jun 2016, 19:21    Post subject:  

jlst wrote:
I mean, when we're talking about i386, we're talking about the beginning of time


only in linus-land. he learned basic originally, presumably on dos: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S5S9LIT-hdc and he first wrote the kernel for (im quite sure you know this one.)
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