[arch-dev-public] Processor Generation++

Simo Leone simo at archlinux.org
Tue Mar 18 19:06:11 EDT 2008

On Mon, Mar 17, 2008 at 02:26:42AM -0500, Simo Leone wrote:
> Let's start off by saying that this is just me floating an idea out there,
> it's not so serious (yet...).
> I've been toying around with the idea of starting to build our
> packages with --march=pentium2 instead of i686. This would mean that our
> binaries would make use of the MMX instruction set, and that our
> packages would no longer run on PentiumPro or older processors.
> My logic here is that we are comitted to being a bleeding edge distro,
> so I think it very much fits our philosophy to phase out older
> processor families when they are hardly used anymore. Intel hasn't
> manufactured PentiumPro's since roughly 1998. The number of users
> running Arch on 10-year-old boxes must be something very close to zero,
> so I don't think we'd be disappointing anyone. Also making use of the
> MMX instruction set would give our multimedia apps a boost, and might
> make some other software inperceptibly snappier (gogo placebo effect!).
> What do you guys think?

Ok so to summarize the rest of the thread a bit:
- The technical advantage is questionable.
- We might have a non-MMX user out there somewhere.

As far as the trouble to do this... it's really none. Just change the
flags in makepkg.conf and the change rolls out as packages get rebuilt.

I guess I'll start a thread on the bbs for starters, and see if anyone
is using a pentiumpro anymore.

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