openSUSE Tumbleweed Begins Transitioning To x86-64-v2 CPU Requirements

Written by Michael Larabel in SUSE on 28 November 2022 at 06:14 AM EST. 40 Comments
Similar to SUSE/openSUSE's Adaptable Linux Platform requiring x86-64-v2 CPU support, the rolling-release openSUSE Tumbleweed is beginning to transition to require x86-64-v2 micro-architecture support.

Tumbleweed currently targets base x86_64 (v1) but now will be moving to x86-64-v2. By going with x86-64-v2, CPU instructions set extensions now required include CMPXCHG16B, LAHF-SAHF, POPCNT, SSE3, SSE4.1, SSE4.2, and SSSE3. This basically shifts the baseline CPU requirements to roughly Intel Nehalem era processors or AMD Bulldozer and newer. Now being able to always assume SSE4.2 / SSSE3 / etc make for better compiler targeting to newer systems.

The x86-64-v2 requirement limits the Tumbleweed CPU support to roughly Intel CPUs of the past 15 years or on the AMD side hardware within roughly the past decade.

This is a sane move for openSUSE/SUSE to make as we roll into 2023. Besides openSUSE ALP requiring x86-64-v2, RHEL9 also mandates x86-64-v2 and being eyed by other distributions too. It's at the x86-64-v3 level where AVX becomes a requirement and other newer instructions that more sharply limit the supported processors, particularly in the low-end and embedded space. But x86-64-v2 for 2023+ Linux distributions makes sense.

In openSUSE's announcement today of this x86-64-v2 transition, they do note that a community repository is being setup where x86-64 (v1) support can be maintained for users still on otherwise now unsupported systems. But that will be left up to the community to maintain, test, etc... Frankly, with time I'll be surprised if that continues to be supported as most users would likely find it easier to switch distributions or upgrade to a newer platform that will provide far better performance and power efficiency over the effort of volunteering to maintain x86-64-v1 support.

Now to hope more Linux distributions raise their x86-64 requirements -- and also ideally adopt glibc HWCAPS too for better performance with newer CPUs beyond the baseline requirement.
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