[Mageia-dev] i686 must be Pentium II ?

Giuseppe Ghibò ghibomgx at gmail.com
Sat Sep 25 22:09:27 CEST 2010

> Since the vast majority of new processors are 64-bit capable, I see no
> point in *only* supporting the newest of the old CPUs.  All the 32-bit
> stuff will eventually die on its own anyways.
> I *definitely* do not want to see dropping support for everything that
> doesn't do SSE2 (which was discussed in the Fedora thread you linked).

PII is not SSE2 capable. I cited SSE2, because it was  giving even more
boosts. SSE3, 4, etc. needs special support to gain further boosts.

> IMHO, just sticking with i586 support is the path-of-least-resistance
> and doesn't alienate people who must use older hardware out of
> financial or geographic necessity.
> I would not use KDE as a basis for ruling out support of older
> hardware.  Mageia will offer many lightweight alternatives to KDE.

Any system REALLY lightweight is welcome, but it's not a matter of just
choosing a desktop rather than another. There are also toolkits, and they
are getting fatter. Maybe a legacy system with just motif (or lesstif)
applications would be lightweight nowadays. But IMHO this is just an
illusion and get people "angry". I really want to see such a lightweight
system even for ATOM CPUs.

I spent days and days in try to understand why passing from a distro to two
versions later, my shining not-so-new P4 hardware with ATI card become from
lightning to usable to a slow-dog that it was not able to keep at the same
time a browser and a mail client without slaughtering the hard disk with
swap. And the answer was that there wasn't any bottenleck in the distro
(beyond playing with Composite, XAA and EXA...).
Simply the upstream applications become fatter because they added more
checks, etc.; you might experience this even not using graphics at all but
remaining in console mode only.
And phoronix benchmarks shown this. Only difference is that when you
test adjacent
releases the differences are tighter, so you wouldn't notice too much. For
instance the whole distro of Xandros running on the first EEEPCs, was able
to boot and go X in 10-15 seconds. But when starting OpenOffice/Staroffice
there, or acrobat reader, was not faster than the same time they were taking
on MDV.

Even newer versions of what was considered the most optimized and
lightweight distro, VectorLinux, become slower. Or try to put in a CDROM an
older Knoppix 3.2 of 2005 against Knoppix 6.2 on the same hardware...

Of course we shouldn't forget that the MDV had already a system for
providing optimized (look at /usr/lib/sse2 for instance) version of
libraries according to instruction set supported.

So my suggestion was just to rethink to the lowest common denominator for 32
bit consider that we are in year 2010, maybe adding to such list the SSE and
MMX sets. And by contrary are the CPU not supporting such set still usable
with the newer distro even in console mode (fileserver, webserver, dns
server, etc.)? Have they enough memory to run even the installer? Just a

Note that I'm always in favour in preserving the legacy stuff, especially
for software applications, but when things are done in a certain way, even
if there is only one SINGLE user using it (he would have invested time in
learning things, so why removing things he knows and use?).

> Because the kernel is modular, excluding older drivers may save some
> hard disk space, but won't affect the actual kernel size much.  As
> soon as you exclude support for ISA, someone will come along wondering
> why their $VeryImportantOlderHW no longer works.  ;o)

when it works...I saw in the past many of my most important old hardware,
like some PCMCIA network card or modem not working or supported anymore...

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