[Mageia-dev] i686 must be Pentium II ?

Thomas Backlund tmb at iki.fi
Sun Sep 26 14:48:09 CEST 2010

Giuseppe Ghibò skrev 26.9.2010 14:59:
> 2010/9/26 Thomas Backlund <tmb at iki.fi <mailto:tmb at iki.fi>>
>     Giuseppe Ghibò skrev 26.9.2010 02:09:
>      >
>         I don't want to deprive the fun of building a router or a
>         firewall from
>         an old P133/64 with two ethernet cards, or some mediabox, but
>         often you
>         can't  (and sometimes you pay of energy power in a year much
>         more than
>         getting some 30-50E linksys ARM linux based router. And when
>         soemone try
>         such kind of attempts in the real world with your distro, will
>         be very
>         disappointed of failures. That's why I in some way asked a survey of
>         oldest hardware based on own experiences.
>     You still miss the point that in Mageia community there are many
>     users that find 30-50e a _lot_ of money, and we dont want to shut
>     them out.
> I'm not decreasing the value of the money, but rather I was pointing out
> the false assumption that mageia (or the current inherited mandriva)
> would work and would work FINE (or at all) on that hardware just because
> it was using a compatible instruction set.

Well, it depends of what you consider "FINE".
I dont expect people using old hardware to try to get KDE or any 3d 
stuff to work "FINE".

But we have lightweight platforms such as lxde and xfce that both works 
moderate/fast on a 200MHz+ platform with 128MB+ RAM.

Then if you want it as a server, its even easier... you dont even need a 
DE/GUI, as it's manageable through console/shell.

> I'm not against this, but if
> that we wanna support that kind of hardware there is MUCH MORE work to
> do (I suggested a LEGACY section in the wiki, but seems it wasn't
> caught) than just keeping the actual flags, because in that way if we
> don't change then nobody will complain. Even the simple lzma payload of
> rpm packages requires much more memory than in the past with gzip. I'm
> not sure with current squashfs for the initial ram disks.
> I already cited there are other distro which maybe do a lot better this
> job. In many countries there isn't even the broadband, dialup, nor the
> electrical power for them. Right now you are almost assuming that a 10
> years old instruction set is still a no go, and that our distro is
> optimized like the one of the One Laptop Per Child Project.

I know we dont optimize for OLPC.

Yes, the instruction set is old, but there are many systems that are 
older. and even if the hw is newer, it still does not enforce full i686 
spec, as seen for example with either missing CMOV or another broken 
register. Even Intel got it wrong with some series of the Pentium D wich 
didn't work with i686 series builds...

> Sadly it
> isn't. But there is also a 2nd point: on old hardware it is still
> possible to run old software and old distros: strange but true. Such old
> software is still doing its dirty job. It's not that you get a trojan as
> soon as you put the nose out the net. There are still ways of
> configuring a distro on a LAN and trust in the people using the
> terminals locally. Many schools still use them. In a 2 hours lesson at
> school you can't wait half an our just to have your desktop booting...,

It does not take half an hour if you use xfce/lxde.

> the same if you plan an antispam server with latest antispam tools on a
> server of that category (server that was doing it's dirty job with the
> distro of 2 or 3 generations ago).

Oh, I know several servers out there running on i586 ~200Mhz that has no 
problem what so ever keeping up with the spam/av filtering.

> I also tried such old hardware, but there are much less bloated distro
> and less bloated kernels (even non-linux ones) that do the job (or a
> specific duty) on such hardware a lot better than ours.

Maybe so, but does that mean we should force them to _not_ use Mageia ?


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