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I only know of Arch Linux which is pretty awesome and I use it for my desktop. But its rolling release model makes me wary of using it for servers. I know that the benefit of an optimized distribution will not be striking, at least it is unlikely to hurt. Given that I have more modern CPU I would rather enjoy an occasional benefit rather than not. I wonder why are such distributions so hard to find. After all i386 instruction set is pretty prehistoric and I do not see any obvious drawback to compiling for i686.

So my questions are

  • Are there Debian based distributions optimized for i686/X86_64 ? What I am looking for is a distribution for a number crunching cluster
  • Are there any obvious drawbacks because of which distributions usually do not go that route ?
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I mean, you could go with Gentoo and compile everything. In my mind, you will probably be better served with a distro that is better administratively that for which you can eliminate unnecessary services. I think you want to run a minimal install and optimize your application. –  BobbyShaftoe Oct 30 '10 at 4:31
@BobbyShaftoe Done that, it was fun, but its too much work. I would rather prefer a binary distro. But having said that it was great fun running Gentoo on an ancient SMP sun clone (ROSS). No other linux would run on it –  srean Oct 30 '10 at 4:40
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If you're going to do number-crunching, then the most important thing is how your application is compiled; not the rest of the system.

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It does matter how libc was compiled for instance, the compiler too. So i was wondering if there is a distribution that ships the architecture tuned version. –  srean Oct 31 '10 at 18:18
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