View Poll Results: Should Ubuntu move to i686?

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  • Yes

    117 68.02%
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Thread: Time to move to i686?

  1. #1
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    Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat

    Time to move to i686?

    Hi,
    i686 was introduced in 1995.
    Fedora already switched to i686.
    Who are the people who use pre 1995 hardware that we're trying to stay compatible with by still using i386 builds?
    Anyone (at Canonical or elsewhere) got any stats?
    I think their "market share" is less than 1 in ten thousand.
    We'd get a few % performance for free, which is what Ubuntu is focusing on lately.
    Last edited by kahumba; December 29th, 2009 at 11:15 AM.

  2. #2
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    Re: Time to move to i686?

    That is so true...

    I, for one, have switched to AMD64 to overcome this issue.

    But I've also heard that x86-64 consumes more power than x86-32 (64bit pointers you may not need, ...). OTOH, you get more work done with large registers.

  3. #3
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    Re: Time to move to i686?

    There's no such thing as i686. Do you mean the Intel P6 family or maybe AMD64?
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  4. #4
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    Re: Time to move to i686?

    Ubuntu's generic kernel detects the architecture of the processor at boot time and uses optimization for it.


    https://lists.ubuntu.com/archives/ub...st/019983.html
    A lot has happened to the kernel since
    the early days, though, and for some time, it has been capable of loading
    these optimizations at runtime. Even when you use the -386 kernel, you get
    the benefit of many CPU-specific optimizations automatically. This is great
    news for integrators, like Ubuntu, because we want to provide everyone with
    the best experience out of the box, and as you know, there isn't room for so
    many redundant kernels on the CD (only one). Many users spend time and
    bandwidth quotas downloading these optimized kernel in hopes of squeezing
    the most performance out of their hardware.

    This begged the question: do we still need these old-fashioned builds?

  5. #5
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    Re: Time to move to i686?

    Quote Originally Posted by kahumba View Post
    Hi,
    i686 was introduced in 1995.
    Fedora already switched to i686.
    Who are the people who use pre 1995 hardware that we're trying to stay compatible with by still using i386 builds?
    Anyone (at Canonical or elsewhere) got any stats?
    I think their "market share" is less than 1 in ten thousand.
    We'd get a few % performance for free, which is what Ubuntu is focusing on lately.
    I don't think i368-only processors can even run ubuntu
    FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU!!!!

  6. #6
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    Re: Time to move to i686?

    Quote Originally Posted by kahumba View Post
    We'd get a few % performance for free, which is what Ubuntu is focusing on lately.
    Make that a few tenths of a percent.

  7. #7
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    Re: Time to move to i686?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bachstelze View Post
    Make that a few tenths of a percent.
    == Conclusion ==

    Having read over it, I think the numbers are fairly compelling. The
    difference in performance between -386 and -686 is insignificant; the
    measurements are all within a reasonable error range, and within that range,
    -686 was slower as often as it was faster.
    https://lists.ubuntu.com/archives/ub...st/019983.html

  8. #8
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    Re: Time to move to i686?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bachstelze View Post
    Make that a few tenths of a percent.
    For Fedora 12, we are switching to i686 as the base architecture (including CMOV), and improving support for Atom processors.

    Benefits:
    1. Faster binaries on mainstream architectures (Pentium M, Via C7, all 64-bit arches, Atom)

    Next 2 reasons might not apply to Ubuntu:
    2. Realistically, support for i586 in Fedora 11 was quite limited. This change makes that lack of support a little more clear.
    3. Fewer kernel builds
    http://docs.fedoraproject.org/releas...ific_Notes_686

  9. #9
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    Re: Time to move to i686?

    Quote Originally Posted by kahumba View Post
    Who are the people who use pre 1995 hardware that we're trying to stay compatible with by still using i386 builds?
    Pre-1995? i386 was 1985-1989, i486 came out in 1989.

    Quote Originally Posted by MacUntu View Post
    There's no such thing as i686. Do you mean the Intel P6 family or maybe AMD64?
    Technically, you can go round and round about if there is a 'i686'. I personally think its a valid term. Its used to mean 'P6 microarchitecture' (P6 being pentuim pro, so all intels from there onward, and AD from athlon onward).

    Quote Originally Posted by fromthehill View Post
    I don't think i368-only processors can even run ubuntu
    Nope, they cant. 486/32MB 'absolute minimum' (and thats CLI only, and very limited packages)

    I'm pretty sure that ubuntu keeps the i386 name because debian (which, lets face it, ubuntu is just a fairly modded version of) does.

    IMO, they shouldnt move to i686, as while there is no way to get an 386 running on ubuntu, and a 486 would be painful, theres still quite a few people with AMD K6-2 and K6-3 (which is faster than the pentium 2's) around and they wont support i686.

  10. #10
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    Re: Time to move to i686?

    Quote Originally Posted by cascade9 View Post
    ...
    theres still quite a few people with AMD K6-2 and K6-3 (which is faster than the pentium 2's) around and they wont support i686.
    Bingo!
    The question is, how many run Ubuntu for serious on AMD K6-2/3 in terms of %?
    I'd bet that much (much!) less than 1%.
    Imo Canonical should rather do like Fedora, use i686 builds optimized for Atom processors - now that's what I'd call a fully justified change.

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