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The manufacturer recommendfs RH9 (ugh) and many of the google search hits come up with comments from 2006/7 which detail xorg problems with the AMD video driver and I'm hoping someone here has had recent experience. I have two questions:

  1. Which Linux distribution (I'm going use gtk/boost/wxwidgets/cairo)

    • My project is going to be a GUI which is moderately performance oriented, so is there any value in going minimal with the entire distro, given that the CPU is 500mhz? I'm thinking that if I can use some manifestation of Ubuntu or some other popular distro with rich repositories, that would probably work out the best for me.
  2. Is there a way to simulate the CPU & chipset in a virtual environment (VMWare/VBox etc) so that I don't have to cross compile? I know its x86, so I'm assuming simply compiling on any < i686 arch will work, but I'm sure there are some performance optimizations done per architecture.

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4 Answers 4

up vote 3 down vote accepted

For the distro, you might want to give Damn Small Linux a go. If you install it to your harddrive, it's a minimal Debian installation configured to be light on resources.

When it comes to compiling, just compile with -march=geode. That option is defined on any i386/x86-64 gcc, so no real need to cross-compile. If you want to run the binary on your compiler host as well (without a recompile), try something like -march=i486 -mtune=geode. Read more about those options in the GCC docs.

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The AMD Geode LX is an i686 processor (the NOPL instruction is not part of the i686 specifications). I use it with Arch Linux. The only things you have to take care of are to press TAB at Arch installer's boot screen and add the option arch=i686, and set Architecture = i686 in your pacman.conf.

Unfortunatelly, uname -m still delivers i586

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I recently installed Gentoo on an Alix with an AMD Geode LX processor via the Binhost feature of portag3. As you say, it's an x86 one (i586 to be precise), but several benchmarks are showing that i486 is the better way. It has a few better results, and almost no lack of features (compared to i586).

Since I havent installed any kind of graphical user interface, I cannot say much about the performance.

Even if you stick to a binary distribution, you should check the kernel features, because there a few special drivers for this cpu (e.g. for hardware-accelerated AES).

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Debian and Ubuntu support every Intel processor from the 485. With Debian, the minimal install is very small (~500Mo) and Ubuntu provide the XUbuntu "flavour" dedicated to small configurations.

ubuntu 10.10 and above no longer support x86 architectures below i686

You can emulate this machine with any virtualisation software able to emulate a i586 CPU (like qemu, but others may be able to do it too).

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Lubuntu is fine, too –  amyassin Oct 5 '12 at 9:09

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