considering i386 as a tier 1 architecture

Warner Losh imp at
Mon Apr 1 14:00:56 UTC 2013

On Mar 31, 2013, at 11:48 PM, Kimmo Paasiala wrote:

> I think the only ones who are going to object are the users of embedded
> hardware. Some of them are still using CPUs that are only i586 equivalent.
> Personally I support the notion.
> -Kimmo
> On Mon, Apr 1, 2013 at 7:48 AM, Eitan Adler <lists at> wrote:
>> Hi,
>> I am writing this email to discuss the i386 architecture in FreeBSD.
>> Computers are getting faster, but also more memory intensive.  I
>> can not find a laptop with less than 4 or 8 GB of RAM.  Modern
>> browsers, such as Firefox, require a 64bit architecture and 8GB of
>> RAM.  A 32 bit platform is not enough now a days on systems with
>> more than 4 GB of RAM.  A 32 bit core now is like 640K of RAM in
>> the 1990s.  Even in the embedded world ARM is going 64 bit with
>> ARMv8.

Actually, that's not true. ARM is producing a 64-bit thing, but (a) it hasn't been released yet and (b) the vast majority of all embedded arm boards are 32-bits.

>> Secondly, the i386 port is unmaintained.  Very few developers run
>> it, so it doesn't get the testing it deserves.  Almost every user
>> post or bug report I see from a x86 compatible processor is running
>> amd64.  When was the last time you booted i386 outside a virtual
>> machine?  Often times the build works for amd64 but fails for i386.

I've not seen this to be the case, and I still run i386 in several virtual machines as well as on my firewall. Running in a virtual environment isn't good support for dropping i386, frankly. I've had the build be broken for me about equal times for both.

>> Finally, others are dropping support for i386.  Windows Server 2008
>> is 64 bit only, OSX Mountain Lion (10.8) is 64-bit only.   Users
>> and downstream vendors no longer care about preserving ancient
>> hardware.
>> I hope this email is enough to convince you that on this date we
>> should drop support for the i386 architecture for 10.0 to tier 2
>> and replace it with the ARM architecture as Tier 1.

arm can be Tier 1 without dropping i386 as Tier 1. Are there specific bugs in i386 that haven't gone fixed for a long time?

Basically, I see no benefit to this move. At least none has been articulated.


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