GCC Developers Look At Dropping i386 Support
Written by Michael Larabel in Linux Kernel on 13 December 2012 at 07:55 AM EST. 9 Comments
Now that the Linux kernel has dropped support for old Intel 386 CPUs, GCC developers are also considering the removal of i386 support from their compiler.

Hours after the Linux kernel saw support removed for the vintage i386 CPUs, a discussion started on the GCC development list about dropping the i386 support from this leading open-source compiler.

In similar reasoning to the Linux kernel developers nuking the i386 support to reduce complexity and the maintenance burden within the kernel, the reasonings for getting rid of the support from the GNU Compiler Collection is much the same. Steven Bosscher, the one initiating this change for GCC, classified the clean-ups as removing PROCESSOR_I386, TARGET_386, X86_TUNE_DOUBLE_WITH_ADD, X86_ARCH_CMPXCHG/X86_ARCH_XADD/X86_ARCH_BSWAP, and more clean-ups pertaining to lock-free atomic int support.

So far developers seem to be in support of this move, the discussion thread concerning the possible removal of i386 support from GCC can be seen here. "If you use an almost 30 years old architecture, why would you need the latest-and-greatest compiler technology? Seriously..."

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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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