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Linux Kernel Drops Support For Old Intel 386 CPUs

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  • Linux Kernel Drops Support For Old Intel 386 CPUs

    Phoronix: Linux Kernel Drops Support For Old Intel 386 CPUs

    Yet another change for the upcoming Linux 3.8 kernel is the removal of support for the old Intel i386 processors...

    http://www.phoronix.com/vr.php?view=MTI0OTg

  • #2
    You could almost say "the Linux kernel dropped support for i386"

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    • #3
      I wonder if there was someone using modern linux kernels on i386 hardware…

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      • #4
        The removal of 80386 support is sad when we consider that Linux was first developed on this hardware.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by ryao View Post
          The removal of 80386 support is sad when we consider that Linux was first developed on this hardware.

          You beat me to it! Yes, the good ol' 386 was the first CPU to ever run Linux.

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          • #6
            why not 486 also?


            doubt there are many working 486 left, let alone working 486's able to run any distro

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            • #7
              Same as with the P5 MMX topic recently, you can still buy embedded 486 variants @ 1 GHz.

              They're also supported by glibc and other parts still. (glibc dropped 386 support several versions ago)

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              • #8
                Now what are we going to run on our machines when developing Commander Keen?

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                • #9
                  According to the comment (included in the article!), it means less work for SMP support.
                  It also means that the kernel developers don't need to maintain i486 emulation in the kernel.

                  On the other hand, there's no similar cost for supporting 486.

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                  • #10
                    I wonder how much 486 code is so specific, that removal would improve things.

                    At first, I thought, removing i386 support (not 32bit support), that's strange, isn't the i486 and i686 support equal more or less.

                    But appearantly, whilst the 32bit stuff is technically still 'i386' at its core, there is weird stuff in the kernel to actually make it work on 80386 CPU's because of missing hardware features (thus emulating it etc etc) and since REAL 80386 are probably REALLY not used by physical hardware anymore.

                    As said above, 80486's are still in use and are far more similar to pentiums etc then 80386's isn't it A pentium was just a 80486 with some extra extenions wasn't it?

                    80286 actually missed crucial functions and while backports/hacks existed, it simply was even more crippled then many arm CPU's are now (only 16 bits for example).

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                    • #11
                      the thing about ditching other ancient archs that may still be in use (such as i486) is the modern kernel is likely too heavy for them, nearly none of the new features put into the kernel will actually aid old archs, and people who use them probably don't care to update to the latest anyway.

                      While it is a little sad that the original arch is being ditched, I'm glad to see the kernel getting cleaned up a bit and making future releases easier to work on.

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                      • #12
                        Who still has the original 80386 machines around? As we know there are times when things come to an end and thus support for the old 386 is ending. It sure has been a great run though for Linux on the old machines though, considering that Linux kernel was born on that architecture.

                        It sure is a great time to do some spring cleaning on the kernel, so why not look at purging support for very old devices or at least mark them as Legacy within the tree so all it will take is a config option to turn on legacy device support for those rare cases there happens to be some old device or controller in a particular system

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by DeepDayze View Post
                          It sure is a great time to do some spring cleaning on the kernel, so why not look at purging support for very old devices or at least mark them as Legacy within the tree so all it will take is a config option to turn on legacy device support for those rare cases there happens to be some old device or controller in a particular system
                          they already do this and this has been the case, for as long as as it has been applicable... When configuring a kernel (make menuconfig), if you have done that before...? (which i assume is probably not the case, based on your above comments), there are still legacy drivers (marked 'deprecated' and disabled). One such example;
                          Originally posted by make menuconfig
                          < > ATA/ATAPI/MFM/RLL support (DEPRECATED) --->
                          besides that, all of the device drivers (or any other feature) of the linux kernel can be enabled/disabled (compiled or not, builtin or as a module, etc) via what you would call a 'config option'. it's all pretty standard stuff

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by DeepDayze View Post
                            Who still has the original 80386 machines around? As we know there are times when things come to an end and thus support for the old 386 is ending. It sure has been a great run though for Linux on the old machines though, considering that Linux kernel was born on that architecture.

                            It sure is a great time to do some spring cleaning on the kernel, so why not look at purging support for very old devices or at least mark them as Legacy within the tree so all it will take is a config option to turn on legacy device support for those rare cases there happens to be some old device or controller in a particular system

                            Dude, you don't say "its a great time to do _spring_ cleaning" in december. Its just not right.

                            Regardless, I find it also slightly wrong to drop support for arches. It's just the easy way out. arch support should be sufficiently pluggable that you wouldn't get limited by supporting more architectures, and the API to be reasonably stable enough, that you wouldn't need to maintain arches each release (that totally ISNT the case in Linux and probably the exact reason for the drop: nobody wants to support it)

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                            • #15
                              are there real world examples of people really compiling the latest kernel releases and using them on 486's????



                              how? and why? what for?


                              Before switching to a full intel laptop I was trying pretty much all the latest distros in a pentium iv system with 1 gram.


                              It's an exercise in masochism, even in that system I had to settle for like kernel v2.6 at most 2.4 working the best.



                              with the addition of arm code and arm64 and all this new arches wouldn't it be better to drop anything prior to pentium4's??

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