i386 means...32 bit?

Liam Proven lproven at gmail.com
Fri Aug 17 09:52:56 UTC 2012

On 17 August 2012 09:52, Thufir <hawat.thufir at gmail.com> wrote:
> On Fri, 17 Aug 2012 11:23:18 +0600, সাজেদুর রহিম জোয়ারদার wrote:
>> *uname -a*
>> Your will find your system type and the processor type also.
> thufir at dur:~$
> thufir at dur:~$ uname -a
> Linux dur.bounceme.net 3.0.0-12-generic #20-Ubuntu SMP Fri Oct 7 14:50:42
> UTC 2011 i686 i686 i386 GNU/Linux
> thufir at dur:~$
> See, that's exactly what I mean.  It says right there "i686".  The reason
> I ask is that I want to use dbmail.  However, dbmail has no i386 version:
> http://article.gmane.org/gmane.mail.imap.dbmail/14365
> what does that mean?  That is 64bit only?  Or, to use a ?syllogism, if
> all i386 are 32 bit...
> does that work the other way around?  are all 32bit systems i386?

Sheesh, man, I thought this was really old news.

There have been 4 generations of Intel x86 instruction set (formally,
"instruction set architecture" or "ISA" for short):

8088/8086/80186 - 8/16 bit
80286 - 16-bit
80386 - 32-bit

That was in 1986. Nothing really changed after that for 20 years, so
"80386" got shortened to "i386" and eventually came to mean "x86" - as
in, the last revision of the 80?86 processor line, all the others
being long dead. Other companies such as AMD & Cyrix also made x86
CPUs, under license from Intel.

After the 80486 - also 32-bit - Intel realised it couldn't trademark
numbers, so it stopped giving its processors numbers.

What would have been the 80586 became the "Pentium" - from "penta" for
five - but it uses the same instruction set as the 386.

The P6 became the Pentium Pro - it's the "80686". Still the 386 ISA.
The P6 architecture is in the Pentium Pro, Pentium M, Core Solo & Duo,
Core 2, Core i3/i5/i7 and so on.

There hasn't really been a "80786" yet. The closest thing was the
Pentium 4. It was designed and optimised to run at really high
megaHertz speeds, at the cost of poor efficiency: they revved fast and
were hot but not very powerful.

Around the time of the Pentium 4, AMD decided it could do better, and
designed a new architecture, designed to rev slower but more
efficiently. It was the "Sledgehammer", the AMD Opteron series, and as
well as being very fast at running 386 code, it also had a new 64-bit

It sold very well.

Intel got very annoyed - "nobody innovates on our chips except us!" It
designed its own 64-bit extension to x86. Microsoft told it to get
lost - MS was already supporting the dead-end Itanium 64-bit
architecture, *and* AMD's new one, and it wasn't supporting a 3rd.

So, grumbling, Intel copied AMD's 64-bit ISA.

So finally we have 2 x86 ISAs: the original 32-bit 386, or x86-32, and
the new x86-64. Some people call x86-64 "AMD64" for short to give AMD
credit for inventing it.

No particular Intel chip generation adopted x86-64, because it's not
an Intel technology.

Some late Pentium 4 and the Core 2 and later chips are 64-bit. However
the already-underway Core series - not Core 2, the original Core Solo
and Core Duo - are just 32-bit.

There /is/ no 786 generation, as such, any more: the P4 was not a
success and the line was cancelled. Its successors - Core, Core 2,
Core i3/i5/i7 - revert to an updated 686 architecture. The Core chips
were x86-32 and the later ones are x86-64.

You have a mid-range P4 chip. It's 32-bit only. That's what your CPU
info is telling you.

You are running a 32-bit kernel on it, because there is no 16-bit
kernel and your CPU can't run a 64-bit kernel.

You can't fit a 64-bit P4 into a motherboard designed for 32-bit P4s -
the BIOS won't take it.

So you are stuck. If you want to run this 64-bit only program, you
need a new computer.

Liam Proven • Profile: http://lproven.livejournal.com/profile
Email: lproven at cix.co.uk • GMail/G+/Twitter/Flickr/Facebook: lproven
MSN: lproven at hotmail.com • Skype/AIM/Yahoo/LinkedIn: liamproven
Tel: +44 20-8685-0498 • Cell: +44 7939-087884

More information about the ubuntu-users mailing list