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Linux Kernel Drops Support For Old Intel 386 CPUs

Linux Kernel

Published on 12 December 2012 10:33 AM EST
Written by Michael Larabel in Linux Kernel
30 Comments

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

Ingo Molnar submitted the "Nuke 386-DX/SX support" pull request for Linux 3.8, which Linus has already pulled into the mainline tree.

Dropping the old Intel "80386" code is being done to reduce some complexity within the Linux kernel to allow for future improvements without having to worry about maintaining the support for this ancient PC hardware.
This tree removes ancient-386-CPUs support and thus zaps quite a bit of complexity:

24 files changed, 56 insertions(+), 425 deletions(-)

... which complexity has plagued us with extra work whenever we wanted to change SMP primitives, for years.

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.

H. Peter Anvin (9):
x86, 386 removal: Remove CONFIG_M386 from Kconfig
x86, 386 removal: Remove CONFIG_CMPXCHG
x86, 386 removal: Remove CONFIG_XADD
x86, 386 removal: Remove CONFIG_BSWAP
x86, 386 removal: Remove CONFIG_INVLPG
x86, 386 removal: Remove CONFIG_X86_WP_WORKS_OK
x86, 386 removal: Remove CONFIG_X86_POPAD_OK
x86, cleanups: Simplify sync_core() in the case of no CPUID
x86, 386 removal: Document Nx586 as a 386 and thus unsupported

About The Author
Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the web-site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience and being the largest web-site devoted to Linux hardware reviews, particularly for products relevant to Linux gamers and enthusiasts but also commonly reviewing servers/workstations and embedded Linux devices. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics hardware drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated testing software. He can be followed via and or contacted via .
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