[Wolves] i586/i686 the difference is?

Adam Sweet drinky76 at yahoo.com
Wed Aug 4 18:28:13 BST 2004

 --- Peter Evans <zen8486 at zen.co.uk> wrote: 

> One thing that has confused me a little is the
> actual difference between the 
> i586 and i686 flavours of binaries that are out
> there.  I'm currently running 
> SuSE 9.1 on an old Pentium III laptop.  When I fire
> up the KDE control centre 
> it confidently tells me the machine is i686.  But
> when I look on kde.org they 
> only have binary downloads for i586 for KDE 3.2.3
> and I have to ask myself 
> what the difference is and if I download and install
> the i586 stuff on my 
> i686 installation what will be the effect, if any?

I think, unless someone else wants to correct me
(probably Aq ;), that basically, the difference
between the processor specific packages is that they
are optimised for different processors.

For x86 packages, those optimised for 386 (i386) will
run on any later processor family (486, 586, 686), but
will not take advantage of the more advanced features
of those processors and consequently you should always
choose the one compiled for your processor family, or
the one closest. I don't think i686 binaries will run
on older processor families (corrections if required
please anyone).

I don't think there is anything inherently bad about
running i386 binaries as they are a pretty common
baseline used for many packages such as core utils
that need to run on any supported architecture, but if
there is one for your processor, then it makes sense
to use it. They have just been compiled with different
processor optimisation options.

Obviously, i386 is for the 386 and higher, i486 is for
486s and higher, i586 is for earlier AMD processors
like the K6 and K7 (I think) or higher and i686 is for
your common or garden Pentiums and Celerons. I think
later AMDs are 686 too but I might be wrong.
Corrections again welcome.

> A recent irritation is that when logging onto my
> user account all of my 
> desktop icons are sitting in a little cluster on top
> of each other in the top 
> left of the screen.  Yes, I've been fiddling with
> themes, icon sets and even 
> fonts, but if anyone can tell me how to fix this or
> even tell me why it's 
> happening I'd be grateful.

I assume from above you are using KDE so, spread
you're icons around and then right-click your desktop
and follow the menu down to Icons and then take your
pick. Probably align to grid and line up vertically
will be of most help.

It's probably a good idea to wait for your distro to
release their own packages tailored for their system,
rather than the latest and greatest from the
developers themselves unless you have specific reason.
If you don't know what you're doing, you may run into
problems. Don't let me put you of though if you really
want to, it's just that your distro vendors may rub
some bumps and edges off for you to ensure

Hope that helps,




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