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Old 11-09-2011, 08:43 PM
Tim Gardner
 
Default Dropping i386 non-PAE as a supported kernel flavour in Precise Pangolin

Per discussion at UDS the kernel team is proposing to drop the non-PAE
i386 flavour. The upgrade path for non-PAE users will be the PAE kernel.
Those CPUs that do not have i686 and PAE support will be orphaned. To
the best of my knowledge, these include Intel CPUs prior to Pentium II,
400Mhz Pentium M, VIA C3, and Geode LX. As far as I know, there are no
laptop or desktop class CPUs being produced that do not meet these
minimum requirements.


Before I do something that is difficult to revert, I would like to hear
from the development community why we should continue to maintain a
kernel flavour that is (in my opinion) getting increasingly low
utilization. It is my feeling that an extremely high percentage of users
of the non-PAE kernel have a CPU that is PAE capable.


If there is sufficient community demand (and support), I would be
willing to sponsor the first non-PAE kernel upload to Universe.


https://wiki.ubuntu.com/KernelTeam/Specs/PreciseKernelConfigReview

We'll be conducting a similar survey for powerpc.

rtg

P.S. For those of you that are totally confused by this email, PAE
(Physical Address Extension) was an addition to 32 bit x86 CPUs that
allowed them to address more then 4GB physical memory.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Physical_Address_Extension
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Old 11-09-2011, 08:53 PM
Amir Eldor
 
Default Dropping i386 non-PAE as a supported kernel flavour in Precise Pangolin

Hello Tim,

The only reason I see for keeping support of weird old CPUs is for people who have an old computer and they would like to linux-ize it. I'm not sure if the "old" of today are computers running with powerpc or non-PAE CPUs, so my original claim might be void.



I think these kind of computers will probably won't be installed with Ubuntu at all, but X/Lubuntu might be a choice for them. As I understand the kernel of Ubuntu is shared between the 'sister-releases', am I right?



Thanks,
Amir

On Wed, Nov 9, 2011 at 11:43 PM, Tim Gardner <tim.gardner@canonical.com> wrote:


Per discussion at UDS the kernel team is proposing to drop the non-PAE i386 flavour. The upgrade path for non-PAE users will be the PAE kernel. Those CPUs that do not have i686 and PAE support will be orphaned. To the best of my knowledge, these include Intel CPUs prior to Pentium II, 400Mhz Pentium M, VIA C3, and Geode LX. As far as I know, there are no laptop or desktop class CPUs being produced that do not meet these minimum requirements.





Before I do something that is difficult to revert, I would like to hear from the development community why we should continue to maintain a kernel flavour that is (in my opinion) getting increasingly low utilization. It is my feeling that an extremely high percentage of users of the non-PAE kernel have a CPU that is PAE capable.





If there is sufficient community demand (and support), I would be willing to sponsor the first non-PAE kernel upload to Universe.



https://wiki.ubuntu.com/KernelTeam/Specs/PreciseKernelConfigReview



We'll be conducting a similar survey for powerpc.



rtg



P.S. For those of you that are totally confused by this email, PAE (Physical Address Extension) was an addition to 32 bit x86 CPUs that allowed them to address more then 4GB physical memory.



http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Physical_Address_Extension

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Old 11-09-2011, 09:12 PM
Stéphane Graber
 
Default Dropping i386 non-PAE as a supported kernel flavour in Precise Pangolin

-----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
Hash: SHA512

On 11/09/2011 04:43 PM, Tim Gardner wrote:
> Per discussion at UDS the kernel team is proposing to drop the
> non-PAE i386 flavour. The upgrade path for non-PAE users will be
> the PAE kernel. Those CPUs that do not have i686 and PAE support
> will be orphaned. To the best of my knowledge, these include Intel
> CPUs prior to Pentium II, 400Mhz Pentium M, VIA C3, and Geode LX.
> As far as I know, there are no laptop or desktop class CPUs being
> produced that do not meet these minimum requirements.
>
> Before I do something that is difficult to revert, I would like to
> hear from the development community why we should continue to
> maintain a kernel flavour that is (in my opinion) getting
> increasingly low utilization. It is my feeling that an extremely
> high percentage of users of the non-PAE kernel have a CPU that is
> PAE capable.

While it doesn't affect me personally, I've noticed that quite a few
friends of mine still have Pentium M hardware that don't support PAE.

These are mostly older Thinkapds and DELL laptops made in the last
decade and that can still run Oneiric pretty decently with no possible
fallback once the PAE kernel is dropped.
The only other thing that's not working with stock Oneiric on these is
Unity 3D because of some missing OpenGL extensions, Unity 2D works
fine though, AFAIK everything else is currently working as expected.

I'm sure that maintaining a separate non-PAE kernel must cost you
quite a lot of time, but I think it'd be great if we could have 12.04
as the last release supporting these.
As it's an LTS, that's going to give these users an extra 5 years of
support for their hardware which should be plenty enough for that
relatively old hardware.

> If there is sufficient community demand (and support), I would be
> willing to sponsor the first non-PAE kernel upload to Universe.
>
> https://wiki.ubuntu.com/KernelTeam/Specs/PreciseKernelConfigReview
>
> We'll be conducting a similar survey for powerpc.
>
> rtg
>
> P.S. For those of you that are totally confused by this email, PAE
> (Physical Address Extension) was an addition to 32 bit x86 CPUs
> that allowed them to address more then 4GB physical memory.
>
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Physical_Address_Extension


- --
Stéphane Graber
Ubuntu developer
http://www.ubuntu.com
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Old 11-09-2011, 09:13 PM
Mackenzie Morgan
 
Default Dropping i386 non-PAE as a supported kernel flavour in Precise Pangolin

Laptops were still being produced without pae support after pentium 4 came out. I have a laptop from the early 2000s (second hand, so don't know the exact year, but an old dorm mate had it as her laptop when she started uni in 2004, so I'd guess that's the year) that kernel panics on pae kernels (learned that when I put ubuntu server on in 2007). It's the edubuntu one for teaching little cousins to code now.



Maco

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Old 11-09-2011, 09:14 PM
Colin Watson
 
Default Dropping i386 non-PAE as a supported kernel flavour in Precise Pangolin

On Wed, Nov 09, 2011 at 02:43:28PM -0700, Tim Gardner wrote:
> Per discussion at UDS the kernel team is proposing to drop the
> non-PAE i386 flavour. The upgrade path for non-PAE users will be the
> PAE kernel. Those CPUs that do not have i686 and PAE support will be
> orphaned. To the best of my knowledge, these include Intel CPUs
> prior to Pentium II, 400Mhz Pentium M, VIA C3, and Geode LX. As far
> as I know, there are no laptop or desktop class CPUs being produced
> that do not meet these minimum requirements.

Does KVM work properly with PAE kernels at the moment? I've had trouble
with it within the last six months, and when running server
installations I've had to tweak them on the fly to install the generic
kernel in order that I could boot the installed system.

> Before I do something that is difficult to revert, I would like to
> hear from the development community why we should continue to
> maintain a kernel flavour that is (in my opinion) getting
> increasingly low utilization.

I'd have thought we needed data here? I'm worried about dropping the
kernel that's been the default during the installer for some time, in
one step. If we want to switch the installer to generic-pae and then
drop the non-PAE kernel in the next cycle if that works out well, I'd be
happier with that approach; that gives us a much more graceful fallback
plan in the event that our opinions are mistaken.

Cheers,

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Old 11-10-2011, 08:26 AM
Colin Watson
 
Default Dropping i386 non-PAE as a supported kernel flavour in Precise Pangolin

On Wed, Nov 09, 2011 at 11:53:26PM +0200, Amir Eldor wrote:
> I think these kind of computers will probably won't be installed with
> Ubuntu at all, but X/Lubuntu might be a choice for them. As I understand
> the kernel of Ubuntu is shared between the 'sister-releases', am I right?

Yes, any change to the Ubuntu kernel would affect Xubuntu and Lubuntu
too.

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Old 11-10-2011, 02:14 PM
Tim Gardner
 
Default Dropping i386 non-PAE as a supported kernel flavour in Precise Pangolin

On 11/09/2011 03:14 PM, Colin Watson wrote:

On Wed, Nov 09, 2011 at 02:43:28PM -0700, Tim Gardner wrote:

Per discussion at UDS the kernel team is proposing to drop the
non-PAE i386 flavour. The upgrade path for non-PAE users will be the
PAE kernel. Those CPUs that do not have i686 and PAE support will be
orphaned. To the best of my knowledge, these include Intel CPUs
prior to Pentium II, 400Mhz Pentium M, VIA C3, and Geode LX. As far
as I know, there are no laptop or desktop class CPUs being produced
that do not meet these minimum requirements.


Does KVM work properly with PAE kernels at the moment? I've had trouble
with it within the last six months, and when running server
installations I've had to tweak them on the fly to install the generic
kernel in order that I could boot the installed system.



This just seems like a bug. If we don't address it early in this cycle,
then what incentive would we have to address it during the 12.10 dev cycle?



Before I do something that is difficult to revert, I would like to
hear from the development community why we should continue to
maintain a kernel flavour that is (in my opinion) getting
increasingly low utilization.


I'd have thought we needed data here?


As far as I can tell there hasn't been a mass produced non-PAE cpu in
over 5 years that we (as a distro) care about. The consumer grade
electronics lifecycle is _well_ below 5 years. Furthermore, the distro
focus has been desktop with high performance 3D graphics and servers.
Where do non-PAE CPUs fit in that world? There are better distro choices
to fill that niche.



I'm worried about dropping the
kernel that's been the default during the installer for some time, in
one step. If we want to switch the installer to generic-pae and then
drop the non-PAE kernel in the next cycle if that works out well, I'd be
happier with that approach; that gives us a much more graceful fallback
plan in the event that our opinions are mistaken.



I want to drop the non-PAE kernel _before_ the LTS. Otherwise we have to
deal with the complexities of LTS backported kernels _not_ having the
same flavour set as the released LTS kernel (something I'd prefer not to
have to do).


What do you think about dropping x86 32 bit kernels altogether for 14.04
? By then we should have _really_ good multi-arch support, and the CPUs
that we care about will all be 64 bit capable.


rtg
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Old 11-10-2011, 02:56 PM
Oliver Grawert
 
Default Dropping i386 non-PAE as a supported kernel flavour in Precise Pangolin

hi,
Am Donnerstag, den 10.11.2011, 08:14 -0700 schrieb Tim Gardner:
> As far as I can tell there hasn't been a mass produced non-PAE cpu in
> over 5 years that we (as a distro) care about. The consumer grade
> electronics lifecycle is _well_ below 5 years. Furthermore, the distro
> focus has been desktop with high performance 3D graphics and servers.
> Where do non-PAE CPUs fit in that world? There are better distro choices
> to fill that niche.
thin clients ,even modern ones you can buy new today, are usually having
weird specs here ... and ubuntu is the leading distro in modern LTSP
(linux terminal server) deployments (talking about niches) ...

if any possible keep a backwards compatible kernel in universe so ltsp
users can make use of it for the LTS ... i think its a valid move to
drop it next cycle and point them to a 5 year supported release for
their needs.

ciao
oli
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Old 11-10-2011, 03:08 PM
Dotan Cohen
 
Default Dropping i386 non-PAE as a supported kernel flavour in Precise Pangolin

On Thu, Nov 10, 2011 at 17:14, Tim Gardner <tim.gardner@canonical.com> wrote:
> As far as I can tell there hasn't been a mass produced non-PAE cpu in over 5
> years that we (as a distro) care about. The consumer grade electronics
> lifecycle is _well_ below 5 years.

Most people that I know are using 3-5 year old hardware, and I would
say that the 5-8 year hardware is more common than 0-3 year old
hardware. Maybe we have less of a wasteful culture than those who
replace their entire desktops every <5 years, but even in instances
where a user _does_ replace his hardware so often, what becomes of
that hardware? I'll tell you: it becomes some relative's computer. Or
some neighbour's.

In fact, I pretty much maintain the computers of most of the 28
households in my building, and more than half are running some sub
1gHz Pentium 3 or such, with 256 MB of RAM. These are not "computer
enthusiasts" but rather normal people who make do with Kubuntu or XP
and browse Facebook and Picasa online. These people do not feel that
they are missing anything and have no need to upgrade.

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Old 11-10-2011, 04:01 PM
Mackenzie Morgan
 
Default Dropping i386 non-PAE as a supported kernel flavour in Precise Pangolin

On Nov 10, 2011 10:15 AM, "Tim Gardner" <tim.gardner@canonical.com> wrote:


> As far as I can tell there hasn't been a mass produced non-PAE cpu in over 5 years that we (as a distro) care about. The consumer grade electronics lifecycle is _well_ below 5 years. Furthermore, the distro focus has been desktop with high performance 3D graphics and servers. Where do non-PAE CPUs fit in that world? There are better distro choices to fill that niche.



Among gamer nerds or among people whose needs ubuntu can actually fill: the ones who just need a web browser and a word processor?


My experience with the latter group is that until the hardware craps out, they have no intention of spending money on a new one. Dad got rid of the pentium 2 when the motherboard died less than a year ago. Mom still has a c 2002 system running Ubuntu, and I'm pretty sure the last time any of their friends asked me to fix a windows blue screen it was well over 5 years old too.



Computers are replaced as frequently as refrigerators by people who don't care how quickly it loads a page or makes ice: when it stops turning on.


Maco

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