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Funny how linux is promoted as even running on old 386 and 486 computers, but when someone actually has one, they're told it makes a nice door stop. Maybe we ...
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  1. #11
    Linux Engineer MASONTX's Avatar
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    Funny how linux is promoted as even running on old 386 and 486 computers, but when someone actually has one, they're told it makes a nice door stop. Maybe we should update the low end computers linux will run on to a more realistic lower limit. That other OS could just as legitimatly promote itself as being able to run on old 386 and 486 computers, if they include win 3.1.

  2. #12
    oz
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    Quote Originally Posted by MASONTX View Post
    Funny how linux is promoted as even running on old 386 and 486 computers, but when someone actually has one, they're told it makes a nice door stop. Maybe we should update the low end computers linux will run on to a more realistic lower limit. That other OS could just as legitimatly promote itself as being able to run on old 386 and 486 computers, if they include win 3.1.
    The term 486 usually relates more to the CPU in a machine. You can check this thread for details:

    http://www.linuxforums.org/forum/per...a64-em64t.html

    If you'll reread the posts above, it's not the CPU that is the problem, but the low RAM count. The same will happen with any processor on any system if you lower the RAM count so low that it's no longer sufficient to run the system.
    oz

  3. #13
    Linux Engineer MASONTX's Avatar
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    True, but when we talk about a certain class cpu, the computer it is in generally came out with a fairly standard configuration. I just think it is a little unfair to then qualify what linux will run on by requiring that system to have 8 times the amount of ram and a much larger HDD than those machines normally came with. For example, I have a bunch of old computers in the closet, from an old Kaypro II through the 286, 386, 486 series and on into PIII class processors. I am a newbie and initially had the impression that I could resurect all those old machines to usefullness. I soon discovered that, especially for my limited linux knowledge, that a PIII 500 was a more practical lower limit. If the linux community tells the windows only users that if they switch to linux they can resurrect their old hardware, but they have a negative experience due to unrealistic expectations, we may forever loose a convert.

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  5. #14
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    I have older systems of the P1 range (100-133MHz) that run Linux fine on 32-64MB RAM.

    If someone has a 1930's Ford and someone else says "yeah, I can make that run again," it's assumed that some knowledge, research, and understanding will be required to make that happen.

    The same applies for practically any engineered device. PC's are no different. If someone doesn't understand this, they are not applying what they already have (hopefully) learned about the world around them.

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    Linux comes in many forms, and just because it isn't a form that runs high-end graphics and fancy games or office applications doesn't necessarily mean it can't be useful. Many vital applications, routers/firewalls for instance, are perfectly fine on resource challenged hosts.
    Your old 8 bit machines aren't going to ever support Linux, but I've had useful Linux applications running on 386 and 486 class hosts. Naturally, there are limits, but I don't think anyone has said that Linux will turn your antique silicon into a supercomputer.
    People tend to way overestimate the CPU requirements for non-GUI applications. As we speak, I have a 64MB 200 MHz AMD K6 system running as a firewall, and it has been doing that for several years. It is capable of saturating a 100MB ethernet with sustained traffic, and also serves several tens of gigbytes of HTTP traffic annually (not a high load, but serving a useful purpose). It serves as a family print server, providing a Samba share for a couple of printers. My observations have been that it almost never exceeds 5% busy.
    These days, people routinely throw away systems that would be much more powerful than necessary to support useful applications running on Linux, and that includes standard GUI applications like web browsing, e-mail, managing photo collections, etc. I don't at all think there is any false advertising about what small footprint Linux can use.
    --- rod.
    Stuff happens. Then stays happened.

  7. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by HROAdmin26 View Post
    I have older systems of the P1 range (100-133MHz) that run Linux fine on 32-64MB RAM.

    If someone has a 1930's Ford and someone else says "yeah, I can make that run again," it's assumed that some knowledge, research, and understanding will be required to make that happen.

    The same applies for practically any engineered device. PC's are no different. If someone doesn't understand this, they are not applying what they already have (hopefully) learned about the world around them.
    Like HRO says.

    You just gotta look Bro.

    Yet Another Technology Site: Fixing Old Gear

    Yet Another Technology Site: Damn Small Linux 4.0 install on Compaq 1540DM

    Yet Another Technology Site: Compaq Armada 1540DM running Windows 95 and Linux Puppy 2.15CE

    I don't have those Laptops anymore. I sold them ($75.00 for the Compaq) ($100.00 for the IBM) so I could buy my current Netbooks. Linux made this all possible by making this gear run Wireless, Surf the Web, Etc. And yep. I sold them to Windows Users who did not want to learn how to install or set up Linux. The info is out there (The X Files )

  8. #17
    Linux Engineer MASONTX's Avatar
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    I didn't mean to disrespect anyones religion, but Rubberman wrote "Hmmm - a nice doorstop... I have an old 486 (24mb ram) desktop that I still use for some old QNX 4 software. I don't think I'd try to run any current version of Linux on it, except possibly in text mode only. I also have an old P2 Dell XPS-R450 (450MHz P2 Pentium) w/ 384MB ram which I do run Linux on quite nicely."

    I just thought that if current distros need a few steps up the food chain to run, we ought to be intelectually honest and admit that. Rubberman says a 486 based computer with an, at time of manufacture, common amount of ram is a "nice doorstop". I don't doubt that an advanced user could make a firewall out of a 486 machine, but what can us mere mortals do with it if currently available distros wont run on it?

  9. #18
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    I just thought that if current distros need a few steps up the food chain to run, we ought to be intelectually honest and admit that.


    Admit what? What "current" distro says it will run on a 486 "out of the box?"

    but what can us mere mortals do with it if currently available distros wont run on it?
    Just like the 1930's Ford you can A) learn and do it yourself or B) give it to someone that knows what they're doing.

  10. #19
    Linux Engineer MASONTX's Avatar
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    Ok, I'll quit wining and get over it. Apologies to all.

  11. #20
    Linux Guru Rubberman's Avatar
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    Well, that old 486 is maxed out at 24MB RAM. Yes I can run Linux on it, but it would have to be a custom install. I might do it with Gentoo or DSL. However, I'm not sure it would have enough RAM (without a big swap space) to run the current Xorg window server and some reasonable GUI. So, I'd stick to console-based applications on it. It was top-of-the-line when I got it - EISA bus, Adaptec SCSI adapter, ATI-Wonder video card, boots from removable Iomega Jazz discs (1GB). It's the size of a small tank, and weighs just about as much! My Nexus One Android phone has more horse-power and I/O capability than it does!
    Sometimes, real fast is almost as good as real time.
    Just remember, Semper Gumbi - always be flexible!

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