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Upgrades Linux

Linux Nukes 386 Support 464

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the upgrade-time dept.
sfcrazy writes with news that Linus pulled a patch by Ingo Molnar to remove support for the 386 from the kernel. From Ingo's commit log: "Unfortunately there's a nostalgic cost: your old original 386 DX33 system from early 1991 won't be able to boot modern Linux kernels anymore. Sniff." Linus adds: "I'm not sentimental. Good riddance."
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Linux Nukes 386 Support

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  • by jfdavis668 (1414919) on Wednesday December 12, 2012 @11:27AM (#42260839)
    Which kernel version was the last to actually run on a real 80386?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 12, 2012 @11:29AM (#42260867)

    And the Linux Community responds with a resounding... "meh".

  • by FreonTrip (694097) <freontrip@@@gmail...com> on Wednesday December 12, 2012 @11:34AM (#42260917)
    I think 2.4 was the last safe bet for 386's, but the mainline support for that terminated about seven years ago. All things considered, the 386 had a pretty fucking good run.
  • Re:Dammit (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jeremiah Cornelius (137) on Wednesday December 12, 2012 @11:36AM (#42260935) Homepage Journal

    If you HAVE a 386, don't you also REALLY want a pre-2.0 kernel, anyway? :-)

  • by Half-pint HAL (718102) on Wednesday December 12, 2012 @11:37AM (#42260943)

    Especially if they have been having to make things overly complex trying to retain backwards compatibility.

    Now, see... if he'd just gone and written a microkernel in ther first place, we could support multiple processor architectures with a single codetree anyway....

  • by jimicus (737525) on Wednesday December 12, 2012 @11:40AM (#42260985)

    There are. But how many of them desperately need to run a 3.7 kernel?

  • by ShooterNeo (555040) on Wednesday December 12, 2012 @11:48AM (#42261083)

    I'm trying to figure out if any user, worldwide, would be affected by this.

    As pointed out in another comment, there aren't very many applications that will work. If anyone, worldwide, is using it as a desktop OS, they probably are on an older kernel anyway.

    As for embedded systems : since new 386 CPUs have not been produced in 5 years, there's not anyone who would be designing a new embedded system that will use a recent kernel. There's old systems deployed in the field - but why would anyone try to upgrade an old embedded system to a new OS and kernel? A good embedded system is supposed to be reliable and simple enough it needs only minor bug fixes throughout it's deployed lifespan.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 12, 2012 @12:01PM (#42261251)

    Whatever embedded device you run from 1991, it's highly unlikey that you need to run a 2012 linux on it.

  • by bzipitidoo (647217) <bzipitidoo@yahoo.com> on Wednesday December 12, 2012 @12:45PM (#42261781) Journal

    This is a big enough change to warrant version 4.0. Otherwise, we might reach kernel version 3.8.6 which won't work on a 386.

    What I don't understand is what change between the 386 and 486 makes dropping the 386 a good idea. What functionality has the 486 got that the 386 doesn't have?

  • Re:Dammit (Score:4, Insightful)

    by tlhIngan (30335) <slashdot@wSLACKWAREorf.net minus distro> on Wednesday December 12, 2012 @01:24PM (#42262443)

    Huh? You have a 386 with 2GB of RAM?

    I have seen a modern embedded x86-compatible CPU platform with 256MB of RAM. The CPU was not by Via, but it was an x86 compatible one that implemented only the 486 instruction set.

    Great fun to be had as most of the Linux stuff we had was compiled for i586 and higher. It just crashes.

  • Re:Dammit (Score:5, Insightful)

    by slashdime (818069) on Wednesday December 12, 2012 @01:40PM (#42262695)
    You're wrong, or you were technologically savvy enough to remember exact details on how you did it.

    Before 1990, I was using a 386 with 4MB of ram. In 1991, my parents purchased a 486sx 25mhz with 16MB of ram for $1500. The hard drive was 170mb. If you had a gig of ram, why even need a hard drive? You must have just created ramdisks and had a blazing fast computer.

    By 1997, I had colocated my first server on a pentium dual xeon 450mhz with 512mb of ram. This system cost upwards of $2k to build at the time.

    I'm almost sure 386 had NO support for dimms. So you used simms? Were they 30 or 72 pin?

    From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SIMM [wikipedia.org], 72pin simms did not replace 30pin simms until the mid 90's and were NOT present in 386's. 30pin simm sizes ranged from 256kb to 16mb while 72pin simm sizes ranged from 1mb to 128mb.

    Before spamming us with your nostalgia, at least try to get your facts within a magnitude of the truth.
  • Re:Dammit (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968@NOsPAM.gmail.com> on Wednesday December 12, 2012 @01:51PM (#42262823) Journal

    Actually what you want is a cat scan to make sure you aren't brain damaged. i'll tell everyone here the same i tell my SMBs when I got them off those power sucking P4s "When you look at how much useful work you get VS how much power the unit takes its simply not worth keeping" and that applies just as much to a 386 as it does to a P4.

    I mean lets face facts folks, you can take one of those AMD Bobcats or Intel Atom setups (Personally prefer the Bobcat as it gets better performance for a pretty similar price) and get a dual core CPU that uses less than 18w under load, most jobs it'll use between 5w-8w, and you can do just about any task you'd have for a low power unit. A 386 when you figure in the PSU and board is simply going to use a lot more power for every unit of work you get out of it because back then nobody really cared about power usage, it was all about the clocks. And if you don't require 386 support frankly a $25 ARM thumbstick will give you much more work per watt while being even lower powered than the Bobcat or Atom.

    So there really isn't a point to keeping any of these old junkers except for the case of nostalgia which if you want it for nostalgia you are gonna be running an OS from that period, like Win 2.0 or the first Slax release, so having support for such an ancient CPU really makes no sense. Personally if it were me I'd cut off support at the P4, anything older than that frankly is gonna be worthless for anything and while I hate the fact the P4 is a power sucking hog you can still get reasonable amounts of work done with a P4, especially if its one of the later ones like the Cedar Mill with hyperthreading or the Pentium D models.

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