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Unleash the TRUE POWER of your CPU
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SIMDebian (experimental)

Project status: initialization

Project Introduction

Unleash the TRUE power of your CPU.

In order to keep a good compatibility across different divices, Debian's ISA baseline is very low. For example, the ISA baseline for amd64 (a.k.a. x86_64) architecture is <= SSE2 which means we won't benefit from modern CPUs' SIMD instruction sets.

To recompile Debian package with SIMD code enabled, the simplest way is to inject -march=native flag to the compiler flags and recompile the package. However a big amount of repeated work has to be done in order to rebuild the whole Debian system. Instead, SIMDebian chose to fork dpkg and directly add the corresponding flag to system default flag list, such that we can rebuild any package from Debian without change.

However, not every package would gain a performance boost after recompiling with native machine code. Therefore SIMDebian only rebuild a set of selected packages which would benefit from vectorized code to rebuild.

ISA Baseline of SIMDebian

  • nehalem for the first generation supporting SSE4.1
  • (sandybridge for the first generation supporting AVX is missing)
  • haswell for the first generation supporting AVX2
  • skylake for my own cpu (hmm...)

SIMDebian Archive

Currently supported machine types: nehalem, haswell, skylake.

Example APT configuration:

deb sid main contrib non-free

Project Guideline (Draft)


Rebuilding all packages with -march=native is pointless and wasting electricity. SIMDebian aims to a specific set of software that are highly valuable to be compiled into vectorized code.


The workflow is based on git-buildpackage. The three branchs from upstream (master, upstream, pristine-tar) should not be modified. We make modifications on the simd branch, and append +simd to the debian revision number. Alternatively, the simd mark can be replaced by specific ISA names e.g. avx, avx2, neon, etc. when that makes sense.

Candidate version schemes:

  • dpkg/now
  • dpkg/now
  • dpkg/now


To proof this project is useful we need some benchmark data.

Core Packages


We forked dpkg to add SIMD buildflag support. With the patched dpkg, one just need to rebuild any Debian package without change to enable new instruction sets. Changes to code such as follows are not required.

+export DEB_CXXFLAGS_MAINT_APPEND = -march=native

SIMDebian Developer Reference






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