Intel To Drop Very Old Drivers/BIOS From Their Site, But The Linux Impact To Be Minimal
Written by Michael Larabel in Intel on 18 November 2019 at 01:33 PM EST. 18 Comments
INTEL --
Making waves today is that Intel will be removing very old BIOS and driver downloads from their site on or after 22 November. Though these software downloads for the products in question are around ~20 years old so the real-world impact should be small plus with Linux drivers being in the mainline kernel, all you'd really be losing out on are BIOS updates that themselves haven't seen updates in years.

Intel is said to be removing old drivers and BIOS from their original Pentium era product offerings later in the week. Intel hasn't provided an exact list of all the products affected, but they are all close to 20 years old and beyond. Besides vintage hobbyists and those relying upon the outdated hardware still in niche use-cases, there shouldn't be much real impact. This Reddit thread has additional details on some of the affected products and unofficial mirrors of the files now that the removal of the files are imminent.

Fortunately, this is an issue even less so for Linux users. With Intel being a good open-source steward and having great Linux driver support within the mainline kernel, having to scour the Intel website for drivers isn't a thing especially with older classes of hardware. BIOS updates are going away for these vintage systems, but Intel hasn't even updated the BIOSes for those Pentium era boards in recent years, so if you haven't updated already you probably will not be.


The mainline Linux kernel still sees activity for the original Apple PowerBook series, support two decades late for some SGI systems, and more. So should you be running dated hardware and vendor drivers are no longer available, it's always a great excuse to try Linux though with more limited options these days considering x86 32-bit is slowly being phased out by more distributions.


Be prepared though for a lengthy build process if you want to compile a fresh Linux kernel for your two decade old device.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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