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Thread: Operating System compatibility on early x86-32 chips

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    This topic is about booting those os-es on those cpus, not from comparing them microarchitecturally.

  2. #52

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    Quote Originally Posted by Geri View Post
    This topic is about booting those os-es on those cpus, not from comparing them microarchitecturally.
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  3. #53

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    The k6-3 does not have cmov. I learned it by accident because the SuSE guys shipped a live disc in the 8.x series, called it an i586 build, and it wasn't. I told them, and they said they'd fix it, and kept checking back, and they never did.

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    the3dfxdude: the best was in the late 2000s, when every clueless self-proclaimed linux hacker released his own lightweight minimalistic linux distribution for older computers. however, all the binaries were compiled to use SSE2 so it didnt even booted on the computers indended to target the total incompetence of that community is shocking - except debian, those are competent guys, and they usually know what they are doing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Geri View Post
    This topic is about booting those os-es on those cpus, not from comparing them microarchitecturally.
    Did you try booting a Debian version later than 8 on a Pentium Pro before making your statement? Of course, over the course of this thread you changed an entire column of the table from representing an i686-compiled Linux to an i586 one so, yeah, whatever.

    The point of understanding which micro architecture a CPU belongs to is it does equip you with the knowledge to make an *educated guess* whether it should work or not. Other factors like date of introduction are far less useful, given how old architectures can linger in production as low-cost options for years upon years.
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  6. Default

    You are right about that, however, the internal microarchitecture and the opcodes supported by the cpu are different question. from an os perspective, only the first one is the relevant. cmov is supported on some chips from the era, on some, it isnt. even if its deal breaker for linux to run on that practicular model, that does not means i cant talk from them as a group of processors, for example i already have mentioned that 6x86mx supports cmov, and maybe even the 6x86L supports it. i changed the column because it was wrong, and i want accuracy in the table.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Geri View Post
    You are right about that, however, the internal microarchitecture and the opcodes supported by the cpu are different question. from an os perspective, only the first one is the relevant.
    Again: do you have evidence for the statement you made that the Pentium Pro deserves to be grouped in with the CPUs you lumped it in with? That's the point. The Linux kernel documentation specifically draws the line for a "P6" CPU at Pentium Pro. I understand that there are CPUs from other architectural families over time have changed their specs enough to end up with feet in multiple camps. (IE, 6x86 managing to add enough features to go from a "486" class CPU to a "586-plus-but-not-quite-686" one, and the Centaur family likewise crossing over from 686-ish to actually 686 qualified in the transition from the Samuel II/Ezra to Nehemiah.) But in the *specific* context of Debian the Pentium Pro is not, so far as I'm aware, one of these CPUs.
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    No, i didnt tested with the Pentium Pro. I only assume if it (debian 8 ) boots on the 6x86MX and on the Pentium1 and Pentium1 MMX processors (which i have tested, and i know they are working), then it will boot on the Pentium Pro as well. There is a big chance of that, as the Pentium Pro is probably more advanced than the Pentium 1 (the Pentium Pro supports a bit more features, therefore its highly possible for it to boot the OS that the Pentium also can boot).

    I assumed the newer debian linux will not work on the Pentium Pro (and the other cpu-s i have listed together), due to some (untested) claims that the newer debian will not work on Cyrix 6x86MX which is also a p2 class cpu (except the PAE feature). This is maybe accuarte, maybe not accurate, MAYBE the pae will be the deal breaker (so maybe it runs on the pentium pro), maybe something else will be the deal breaker (then it will not run on the pentium pro as well), but as currently debian 9 is not added to the graph, quite of irrelevant.
    Last edited by Geri; February 4th, 2020 at 12:09 PM.

  9. Default

    (Eudimorphodon, i have tested the Debian 9 installer on the Cyrix 6x86mx, it rebooted right after it loads the kernel without displaying any message.)

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    You do understand that "6x86" is a marketing name, right? That CPU has *zero* relationship to the Pentium Pro, other than it and and the Pentium Pro share some features like speculative execution that broadly get lumped into the "sixth generation" category. So what it does when you boot a Debian 9 installer is utterly irrelevant.

    As pointed out before, here are the CPUs that the Debian maintainers say were broken after Jessie:

    * AMD K5, K6, K6-2 (aka K6 3D), K6-3
    * DM&P/SiS Vortex86, Vortex86SX
    * Cyrix III, MediaGX, MediaGXm
    * IDT Winchip C6, Winchip 2
    * Intel Pentium, Pentium with MMX
    * Rise mP6
    * VIA C3 'Samuel 2', C3 'Ezra'

    The Pentium Pro is conspicuously absent from that list so, again, I don't get why you're so determined to connect it to Cyrix's CPUs. To quote the GCC manual, here's what "i686" means:

    i686’

    When used with -march, the Pentium Pro instruction set is used, so the code runs on all i686 family chips. When used with -mtune, it has the same meaning as ‘generic’.
    IE, the baseline definition of an i686 is the Pentium Pro, period.

    Here's something from the Stretch release notes that explains in more detail what the disqualifying conditions are.

    5.1.7. Minimum requirement for 32-bit Intel is now i686 (with a minor exception)

    The 32-bit PC support (known as the Debian architecture i386) now no longer covers a plain i586 processor. The new baseline is the i686, although some i586 processors (e.g. the “AMD Geode”) will remain supported.

    The supported i586 processors have all the features of an i686 processor except the “long NOP” (NOPL) instruction. The following shell script may be a useful indicator (assuming only one processor is installed in the machine):

    if grep -q '^flags.*\bfpu\b.*\btsc\b.*\bcx8\b.*\bcmov\b' /proc/cpuinfo; then
    echo "OK (assuming all CPUs are of the same type)"
    else
    echo "NOT OK: Missing one or more of the required CPU extensions"
    fi

    If your machine is not compatible with this requirement, it is recommended that you stay with Jessie for the reminder of its support cycle. For more information, please refer to the mail thread Defaulting to i686 for the Debian i386 architecture.
    Out of curiosity, what does /proc/cpuflags look like for your 6x86MX? For instance, here's what it looks like on a K6-III:

    flags : fpu vme de pse tsc msr mce cx8 sep mtrr pge mmx 3dnowext 3dnow

    Notice there's no cmov. From what I can find the 6x86MX *does* have all the flags this script looks for, although judging from some comments in the kernel configuration menu the problem might be it doesn't implement the RDTSC instruction correctly? There is a Debian 9 kernel specifically for non-PAE machines so that's not the problem.
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