Fedora 29 Proposal "i686 Is For x86-64" Would Allow More Optimizations, Require SSE2
Written by Michael Larabel in Fedora on 4 June 2018 at 11:14 AM EDT. 24 Comments
FEDORA --
For years Fedora has been demoting 32-bit x86 and there's been efforts to drop 32-bit kernel builds and related efforts while the latest x86 proposal causing some controversy is the "i686 is for x86-64" feature proposal.

The Red Hat backed proposal is to have Fedora cater its i686 RPM packages more for modern x86-64 systems. With the continued push away from 32-bit x86 support, this proposal is about no longer configuring the i686 RPM builds for original i686 CPUs but to instead target the original x86-64 CPUs. The reason for this i686 package discussion is, of course, about multi-lib RPMs with some users still being dependent upon 32-bit libraries, etc. Since most (all?) Fedora i686 package users should be on an x86-64 capable CPU if planning to run the Fedora 29 release coming out later this year.

The benefit in being able to assume the i686 packages are for running on at least early x86-64 CPUs (or the SSE2-capable Pentium 4) is that SSE2 support can now be assumed, so those packages can be optimized compared to their current default package state and no longer needing to worry about non-SSE2 x86 support.

For those using pure x86_64 CPUs and not needing to pull in any 32-bit packages, you won't notice any difference. The feature proposal can be found on the Fedora Wiki.


The devel list is where the discussion around this proposal is taking place with some being apprehensive about this plan.
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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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