XXI century and still using 386 packages...

Matt Zimmerman mdz at ubuntu.com
Wed Feb 2 13:45:01 CST 2005

On Wed, Feb 02, 2005 at 08:09:58PM +0100, Alberto Núñez wrote:

> I suppose I'm not the first that comment this...  We are in 2005, with new
> technologies and amazingly fast systems...  and we are using prehistoric
> system aimed packages. How many people does use a 386 desktop computer?
> How many people use a 486 desktop computer? Even Pentiums, nobody surf
> internet today with a pentium (well, someone...)

This has already been discussed at length, resulting in an entry in the FAQ.
I can summarize as follows:

- Ubuntu packages are compiled using the i486 instruction set (not i386),
  choosing between equivalent instruction sequences based on the choice
  which should perform best on Pentium 4 CPUs (-march=i486 -mcpu=pentium4).

- Ubuntu is more than just a desktop OS

- Use of the few additional instructions added in later Pentium CPUs is
  unlikely to make a significant difference in the overall performance of
  your system

- For cases where these additional instructions do make a big difference
  (such as MMX), support for them is already detected and enabled

> What do you think about that? I know you are going to tell me that it's
> 386 because everybody has the right to use an Ubuntu system, but yes,
> those people with that old hardware are be capable of installing ubuntu,
> but not to use it.

I run Ubuntu on an embedded 486 system (my router/NAT/firewall).

 - mdz

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