I first concieved the idea of making Athlon optimized linux binaries when I decided to install
Linux on my main computer, which just so happened to be an 500mhz
Amd Athlon. I grabbed my SuSE 6.3(My favorite distro at the time) installation disk and installed
Linux on my main box. I booted up and started
xwindows with enlightenment and
gnome as my windowmanger and noticed something was awry, the performance wasn't
much different from my old pentium 233. I relized that most distributions are compiled for the lowest common denominator, a 386, so I figured this was normal and
that i should recompile all the software I use. But I decided that before I go on such
a time consuming endevor I should do some exploring around the net to see if there was anything I could do to get all the performance I can out of my Athlon.
I looked around for a few weeks and found that many people were in the same
position I was in, they wanted an Athlon optimized system., but none of them knew how to do it. I searched around for a while and I found a
Linux.com that pointed to an article at
aboutlinux.com that has some information on optimizing for the Athlon. The article decreed that the following gcc compiler flags would increase performance on Athlons DRAMATICALLY!
CFLAGS = -s -static -O3 -fomit-frame-pointer -Wall -mpentium -march=pentium -malign-functions=4 -funroll-loops -fexpensive-optimizations -malign-double -fschedule-insns2 -mwide-multiply
I was enthralled. But before jumping the gun I decided to do a little more searching.
I then found PGCC, an Intel Pentium optimized version of gcc. I figured that this combined with the compiler flags would really give my system a nice large boost. Just as I was ready to start recompiling all the software I told a few friends about what I was doing and someone suggested to try searching for more stuff on optimizing for the athlon on
google.com. So i headed over to google.com/linux and searched for "Athlon Optimize", and behold, I found
my holy grail, a web page containing information about an enhanced version of
pgcc for the Athlon. However there was one very small but significant problem, the page was in japenese.
I searched frantically on IRC trying to find someone who could translate the page for me. After searching for a few weeks I found ryu and EnmaDaiu in #nippon on Efnet who were willing to help me translate the page for me. I waited a few days and in my inbox was the translation. It was beautiful, I read all the documentation an installed the patch and recompiled my software like a maniac. I compiled for hours and hours and then I rebooted. The kernel booted up very fast as did all of my applications, enlightenment and gnome loaded up in seconds. I was happy.
I then decided that I needed to share this information with the rest of the world. And so I started The Athlon Linux Project...