portability to allegedly byte compatable but non-i386 CPUs
We recently bought one of those sub $200 Everex PCs with gOS (a stripped don't Ubuntu for running mostly Google apps) and it's ok, but I'm a FreeBSD kind of guy...
So I'm wondering are the Via CPUs (which is the current iteration of the old Cyrix CPU) and the new Intel Atom CPU, which are i386 compatable but don't actually use the i386 instruction set (if I have that right... it's been about 15 years since I had those classes), are they compatible with the i386 distribution of FreeBSD?
Insert witty comment here!
I think you're confused, even the latest Intel processor can run code for the original 8086.. it's called backwards compatibility.
AMD/VIA/Intel, are manufactures.. Intel created the x86 architecture, and others have produced clones.
The BSD projects call their x86 port "i386" because that was the start of the 32-bit x86 architecture... the port originally being for the Intel 386 processor.
Some time ago, Intel had the idea to phase out the x86 architecture due to all the legacy.. their Itanium architecture, the reception was poor, AMD took it upon itself to create a 64-bit extension of the x86 architecture, "AMD64".
People liked it, in fact... so much so... Intel cloned AMD's work and produced their own "AMD64" compatible systems, "EMT64" was their code name.. they call it "Intel 64" now, most people call both compatible systems "x86-64" as a generic moniker.
The BSD's do not call their port "x86-64", because it was orignally of AMD's creation.. thus it's called "amd64".
So, to answer your original question... will the i386 port of FreeBSD run on a VIA x86 clone? Yes, it probably will.. assuming the device has a traditional PC BIOS and not some sort of custom boot infrastructure.
Hope that helps.
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