[Gllug] Re: arch & cpu number confusion

Richard Jones rich at annexia.org
Wed Jan 4 13:06:06 UTC 2006

On Tue, Jan 03, 2006 at 06:36:38PM +0000, Emon wrote:
> So the bottom line (although not technically correct) is some
> thing like this...
> arch=486, cpu=686 means that you at least have to have a i486
> cpu to run this binary but it will run great if you have a i686
> cpu, right??

That's right.

> One last thing; so what dose it mean when people tell me that my
> kernel architecture is i386 ??

i386 is the generic name for the large family of 32-bit
Intel-compatible CPUs found on the majority of PCs.  The first such
chip was the Intel 80386 (i386).  There have been many variations and
clones since, but they all run code that was written for the original
i386.  So the i386 is the baseline architecture.

If your kernel architecture is i386 then people could be talking about
one of two things.  Either the kernel was compiled to run on the
original i386 (and all these later variants and clones, but not using
any additional features from those).  Or it could be they just mean
that the kernel runs on a processor from this huge "386 family", which
really means just about anything.  To find out how it was compiled,
have a look at the kernel config file (normally /boot/config-*).
eg. Mine was compiled for AMD64, so I get:


> and on different note what does "noarch" mean ??

It means a package which doesn't contain native binary programs
(eg. it might just contain interpreted code written in Perl, or it
might contain only documents and images).  If it's "noarch", then it
can be installed on any architecture.


Richard Jones, CTO Merjis Ltd.
Merjis - web marketing and technology - http://merjis.com
Team Notepad - intranets and extranets for business - http://team-notepad.com
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