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Re: LTSP 4 and K12LTSP - Was [K12OSN] Are You Ready for a 64-BitPC?

On Wed, 2003-07-30 at 09:00, Chris Thomas wrote:
> Will there be a big performance hit or compatibility issues
> if LTSP is compiled to be used on one cpu architecture
> but ran on another?

I can't speak specifically to LTSP, but generally this a big question,
the simplest answer being "it depends". Generally, if the build target
you choose is sufficiently broad (ie- x86 processors) you will have no
compatibility problems, but the binary will not be as "tight" as it
could be. Most Linux software seems to be built to the i386 or i686
targets. i386 is very broad, and has minimal optimizations and will run
on any x86 system that is a 386 or newer. i686 is more optimized for
modern machines, and will run on anything that is a Pentium Pro or
newer. You can, however, get very specific in your build targets, which
can break compatibility within an architecture family. For example, it
is easy to compile a piece of software and optimize so specifically for
an Athlon XP, that the binary will not work on any other x86 chip, even
a "regular" Athlon. This is also true for Intel chips. Breaking this
compatibility will give the benefit of using your CPU for all it's
worth, but the difference in performance is usually pretty minor. There
is a measurable speed improvement when you get this specific, but it is
usually insignificant in terms of user experience.
	If you want to know more about this sort of stuff, read up on the
various options for gcc in the man pages or go googling. There is quite
a bit of information about optimizations for different architectures. If
you're feeling really adventurous and have the hardware, play with
cross-compiling. It was rather satisfying to watch my iBook boot a
kernel that I compiled on my x86 Athlon. I plan on getting my old Indigo
2 running Linux soon too... ;)


-Quentin Hartman-

Academic Computing and Networking Services Coordinator
Fern Ridge School District 28J
Elmira, OR
Office: 541-935-2253 x429
Cell: 541-914-2989
qhartman lane k12 or us

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