Share your knowledge at the LQ Wiki.
Go Back > Forums > Linux Forums > Linux - Newbie
User Name
Linux - Newbie This Linux forum is for members that are new to Linux.
Just starting out and have a question? If it is not in the man pages or the how-to's this is the place!


  Search this Thread
Old 10-13-2009, 11:07 PM   #1
Registered: Aug 2009
Location: East Coast, USA
Distribution: Linux Mint "Mate" x64 (primary OS), Win 7/8 x64, XP Home/Pro x32.
Posts: 61

Rep: Reputation: 17
What's the difference between i386 & i686?

Both of my laptops (Dell Latitude C640 & D610) have i386 processors, or whatever the i386 means. Between the two, I have four Linux distros, Linux Mint (Gloria), PCLinuxOS, Ubuntu 9.04 and Xubuntu 9.04. When I updated Firefox (by the command line), some of them reports that it's a i686 browser. With Windows, I always had the latest Firefox, and the command line was the only way that I could see to upgrade. Will these i686 browsers mess up my laptop in any way? I hope not, because I want the fastest possible browsers on my laptop. Firefox 3.0.4 (or whatever) is too slow for someone that is used to speed. By the way, I love Linux, and like to use different distros. And I especially love the freedom of no hassles on installation and can update when I want to. On both of these laptops, only a small partition (the first one) is reserved for Windows. That's also where most of my drivers are. I still need Windows for printing, but that's about all. My main concern is these i686 browsers on my i386 system. Any advice or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
Old 10-13-2009, 11:35 PM   #2
LQ Guru
Registered: Aug 2004
Location: Sydney
Distribution: Centos 6.9, Centos 7.3
Posts: 17,417

Rep: Reputation: 2397Reputation: 2397Reputation: 2397Reputation: 2397Reputation: 2397Reputation: 2397Reputation: 2397Reputation: 2397Reputation: 2397Reputation: 2397Reputation: 2397
It's not a problem; see the many qns about that here at LQ.
Basically, the i386 architecture is the HW for the Intel 386 (32 bit) processor from a few years back.
In order to maintain backward compatibility, they then came up with the i486, i586, i686 improvements; all of which are i386 compatible.
If you run

uname -a

at the cmd line, it'll mention either those or x86_64, which is their current 64 bit architecture. This however does run i386 etc sw as well. Not all sw is currently avail as native 64 bit, so it runs 32 bit as well.

Old 10-13-2009, 11:58 PM   #3
Registered: Sep 2009
Posts: 196

Rep: Reputation: 38

Last edited by Smartpatrol; 03-11-2010 at 10:41 PM.
Old 10-14-2009, 12:01 AM   #4
Senior Member
Registered: Sep 2009
Location: Washington U.S.
Distribution: M$ Windows / Debian / Ubuntu / DSL / many others
Posts: 2,339

Rep: Reputation: 231Reputation: 231Reputation: 231
i386 is the old standard i686 is the new
but a i686 program compiled from source will work on the i386 old standard at reduced speed
and a binary or compiled from source i386 program will run on a i686 without any speed redduction


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
What's the difference between i386, i586, and i686 Arc4ne Linux - Hardware 9 04-19-2007 03:49 AM
difference between i386 and i686 bvav22 Linux - Hardware 3 05-11-2005 09:19 PM
i386, i486...i686...the difference? matthurne Linux - General 2 04-15-2004 10:31 AM
i386 i586 or i686 what's the difference? OSI-laya Linux - General 6 06-11-2003 08:19 AM
Difference between i386 and i686 Kroenecker Linux - Newbie 7 05-19-2003 11:54 AM > Forums > Linux Forums > Linux - Newbie

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 06:30 AM.

Main Menu
Write for LQ is looking for people interested in writing Editorials, Articles, Reviews, and more. If you'd like to contribute content, let us know.
Main Menu
RSS1  Latest Threads
RSS1  LQ News
Twitter: @linuxquestions
Facebook: linuxquestions Google+: linuxquestions
Open Source Consulting | Domain Registration