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Linux drops 386 and some 486 supports (Announce)

posted by Rugxulo(R) Homepage, Usono, 18.01.2013, 18:04

> Ok, I have to correct my post. Haven't read carefully your response. Yes,
> the most distributions use i686 only kernel. That's not the problem if
> userspace is compiled with generic x86 support (you can prepare your own
> kernel before the installation), but might be the problem if some packages
> use i686 specific instructions.

The 686(ish) CMOV is overrated, as even Linus himself has admitted. But that's basically all GCC does (not counting scheduling and alignment). Dare I say that GCC is suboptimal in its x86 instruction output? Compilers are very complicated, so writing a decent backend for so many x86 subarchitectures can't be easy. Though I can't imagine speed being that big an issue for modern machines, but "nobody" likes old machines enough to care much for them.

Anyways, Clang is gaining a lot of ground, though I think it too probably assumes at least 686 (PPro) + SSE2. So while that is considered an alternative to GCC, for this particular problem it may not help much.

There are of course other C compilers (PCC, TCC, LCC, ACK), and other languages have their own compilers too (FPC, FBC, XPL0), so I don't think it's the end of the world unless you need a specific version of a specific tool prebuilt for older hardware.


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