Can I install, run and learn Linux on 386 ?

Can I install, run and learn Linux on 386 ?

Post by Mike » Wed, 12 Aug 1998 04:00:00



Hello all,
I would just like to know if I could run Linux on an old 386 with 4 megs ram
to get the hang of it. Possibly if I get the hang of it (hopefully) I could
then try loading it on my newer system.  I am just a neophyte, but am
extremely interested in mucking about with Linux.  Any suggestions are
appreciated.
                                                Thank-you. Mike
 
 
 

Can I install, run and learn Linux on 386 ?

Post by Joe Vahabzade » Wed, 12 Aug 1998 04:00:00



> Hello all,
> I would just like to know if I could run Linux on an old 386 with 4 megs ram
> to get the hang of it. Possibly if I get the hang of it (hopefully) I could
> then try loading it on my newer system.  I am just a neophyte, but am
> extremely interested in mucking about with Linux.  Any suggestions are
> appreciated.
>                                                 Thank-you. Mike

        (Experts on the list, please help out or correct me when something I
post contains some kind of idiocy!)

Mike,

        My understanding is that Linux will run just fine on a 386.  I think
the 4MB of RAM is a bit on the low side, but I *have* heard or read
somewhere that Linux will work with that.
        Running X-windows I've been told that 8MB is a much better idea.

        A bigger issue might be the hard drive size.  Due to the small amount
of RAM, you'll want enough hard drive space to set up a fairly large
swap space (I'm sorta guessing here, and my theories are probably
contaminated by having to deal with WinBlows95).

        On the whole, though, I definitely recommend at least giving it a try .
. . the learning experience alone will be worthwhile.

        - Joe  . . fellow Linux-newbie

--
---------------------------------------
To email me, add .com to the end of my
mail address if it's not already there.
---------------------------------------

 
 
 

Can I install, run and learn Linux on 386 ?

Post by Jeffrey S. Dutk » Thu, 13 Aug 1998 04:00:00



> Hello all,
> I would just like to know if I could run Linux on an old 386
> with 4 megs ram to get the hang of it. Possibly if I get the
> hang of it (hopefully) I could then try loading it on my newer
> system.  I am just a neophyte, but am extremely interested in
> mucking about with Linux.  Any suggestions are appreciated.

Linux should work nicely on such a machine, though it will be
slow for some things (compiling large programs or running X
windows, for example). The small amount of RAM will mean that
you will constantly be hitting the swap partition, so that
will slow you down as well. If you can, you should upgrade
the RAM to at least 8 Meg of RAM, more if you can afford it.

The other problem you face is disk space. Linux will install
in as little as 90MB, if you eliminate stuff like X windows
and emacs, but you will also need some of the disk for swap
space (the part of disk used for virtual memory), which should
be at least 32MB. You should have at least a 300MB disk drive
so that you will have space for your own files as well as the
development software.

Otherwise, the 386 will make a fine learning machine. Beyond
that you can set the machine up as an internet gateway and
file server when you graduate to a better machine. The 386
can continue to serve in that capacity indefintely.

Good luck and happy Linuxing.

- Jeff Dutky

 
 
 

Can I install, run and learn Linux on 386 ?

Post by FaSchm » Thu, 13 Aug 1998 04:00:00


Hello
look at this Site
http://home.att.net/~gibson-s/linuxsmall01.html
there are any small Linux Distr.
I testet the images for a Smalllinux Boot- & Rootdisk
( http://home.att.net/~gibson-s/smalldown01.html ) on a 386sx 4Meg Laptop
and it works.

With actuall Kernels you will get problems while booting and runing progs, i
think. On your machine you will get a working but slow Linux without X, for
first steps enougth.
Good luck !

Btw: I started with Linux half year ago on my Pentium with a
dual-boot-system (about 1GB for Linux Partitions). Studing the How-To's was
the first, i had to do, it was a hard work.
Now i try to install Linux on my old lapi.

" WinBlow's runs without a user, Linux needs a superuser"


Quote:>Hello all,
>I would just like to know if I could run Linux on an old 386 with 4 megs
ram
>to get the hang of it. Possibly if I get the hang of it (hopefully) I could
>then try loading it on my newer system.  I am just a neophyte, but am
>extremely interested in mucking about with Linux.  Any suggestions are
>appreciated.
>                                                Thank-you. Mike

 
 
 

Can I install, run and learn Linux on 386 ?

Post by Alan W. Ju » Fri, 14 Aug 1998 04:00:00



>Hello all,
>I would just like to know if I could run Linux on an old 386 with 4 megs ram
>to get the hang of it. Possibly if I get the hang of it (hopefully) I could
>then try loading it on my newer system.  I am just a neophyte, but am
>extremely interested in mucking about with Linux.  Any suggestions are
>appreciated.
>                                                Thank-you. Mike

You can indeed run Linux on a 386...but it will be EXTREMELY slow.  4MB of
RAM will do nothing but hinder your operations as well; you will not be
able to start up or use the X Windows interface.  For example, should you
wish to recompile your kernel (and you probably will), expect a full
compile to take as long as 4-5 hours.

By comparison, I get what I consider acceptable performance from a 486/80
with 24MB RAM (the more RAM the system has, the happier it is).  On said
system, a full kernel compile takes, on average, 40 minutes start to
finish.

Just my two cents' worth...
73 de N5ILN

--
-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-
Alan W. Jump                                                      N5ILN
Eclectic Studies Center              http://home.sprintmail.com/~awjump
RedHat Linux 5.1
Win '98 is NOT the answer.  Win '98 is the question.  NO is the answer!
-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

 
 
 

Can I install, run and learn Linux on 386 ?

Post by Sampsa Lain » Fri, 14 Aug 1998 04:00:00



> Hello all,
> I would just like to know if I could run Linux on an old 386 with 4 megs ram
> to get the hang of it. Possibly if I get the hang of it (hopefully) I could
> then try loading it on my newer system.  I am just a neophyte, but am
> extremely interested in mucking about with Linux.  Any suggestions are
> appreciated.
>                                                 Thank-you. Mike

Sure, it'll run fine on that, wouldn't use X much though, if I wanted to
stay sane. :)
--
Sampsa Laine                                        

From The Blue Camel we learn:           [ripped from Zenin back in '98]
BSD:  A psychoactive drug, popular in the 80s, probably developed at UC
Berkeley or thereabouts.  Similar in many ways to the prescription-only
medication called "System V", but infinitely more useful. (Or, at least,
more fun.)  The full chemical name is "Berkeley Standard Distribution".

 
 
 

Can I install, run and learn Linux on 386 ?

Post by Bob » Sat, 15 Aug 1998 04:00:00


Quote:> For a first time out I'd recomment trying either Zipslack (about 75 megs)

or Monkey Linux about (40 megs). Check them out at
http://www.sunsite.unc.edu.

Bob

 
 
 

Can I install, run and learn Linux on 386 ?

Post by Aaron and Hifum » Sat, 15 Aug 1998 04:00:00



> > Hello all,
> > I would just like to know if I could run Linux on an old 386 with 4 megs ram
> > to get the hang of it. Possibly if I get the hang of it (hopefully) I could

When you go to do that actual install, check out this site with goodies for a
fairly easy install of slackware on an older computer.

http://www.networkcomputing.com/unixworld/tutorial/013/013.part1.html

4 megs is a little minimal to play with, but can be done. Avoid Xwindows like the
plague.

If you were concerned about repartitioning your main computers hard drive, why
not just rip the hard drive that you were going to use in the 386 out, and slap
it into your main machine? Then you can install linux on there, and play with a
bit more power and speed. Then, when you decide to dump windows and go full on
linux, take that HD back out, put it in the 386, install linux on both, run a
little network with the 386 as a server and have twice as much fun!

Aaron

 
 
 

Can I install, run and learn Linux on 386 ?

Post by sagril » Sat, 15 Aug 1998 04:00:00




>> Hello all,
>> I would just like to know if I could run Linux on an old 386
>> with 4 megs ram to get the hang of it. Possibly if I get the
>> hang of it (hopefully) I could then try loading it on my newer
>> system.  I am just a neophyte, but am extremely interested in
>> mucking about with Linux.  Any suggestions are appreciated.
>Linux should work nicely on such a machine, though it will be
>slow for some things (compiling large programs or running X
>windows, for example). The small amount of RAM will mean that
>you will constantly be hitting the swap partition, so that
>will slow you down as well. If you can, you should upgrade
>the RAM to at least 8 Meg of RAM, more if you can afford it.
>The other problem you face is disk space. Linux will install
>in as little as 90MB, if you eliminate stuff like X windows
>and emacs, but you will also need some of the disk for swap
>space (the part of disk used for virtual memory), which should
>be at least 32MB. You should have at least a 300MB disk drive
>so that you will have space for your own files as well as the
>development software.
>Otherwise, the 386 will make a fine learning machine. Beyond
>that you can set the machine up as an internet gateway and
>file server when you graduate to a better machine. The 386
>can continue to serve in that capacity indefintely.
>Good luck and happy Linuxing.
>- Jeff Dutky

     This is a pretty good summary.  While Linux will run on these
machines (386s), the operating system by itself will take up the whole
machine.  Linux uses 4 megs of ram itself (meaning about everything
run will be swapping to disk ALL the time).  Most 386s also have very
small disks by Linux standards--so you are likely to not have enough
room to install without a lot of gyrations.  I have Linux running on a
few 486s (with 16 to 32 Megs of memory) and 300 to 850 megs of disk
space and find this to be adequate CPU/memory wise but cramped for
disk space.  If you have much less than around 100 MB on disk, you
will have to work fairly hard to get Linux down to a runnable system.
That said, you can certainly learn Linux on a 386 (but not the
spiffier packages like Emacs, Perl, Xwindows, etc.).

    Since 386s aren't worth anything $-wise, you might ask around to
see if you could pick up another machine or two (for free, do not pay
$ for them) to canabilize into one better machine.  More ram will help
most (8 would be much much better than 4).
---
Your garden variety mage,
DeAnn Iwan

 
 
 

Can I install, run and learn Linux on 386 ?

Post by Spart » Tue, 18 Aug 1998 04:00:00




:>Hello all,
:>I would just like to know if I could run Linux on an old 386 with 4 megs ram
:>to get the hang of it. Possibly if I get the hang of it (hopefully) I could
:>then try loading it on my newer system.  I am just a neophyte, but am
:>extremely interested in mucking about with Linux.  Any suggestions are
:>appreciated.
:>                                                Thank-you. Mike

: You can indeed run Linux on a 386...but it will be EXTREMELY slow.  4MB of
: RAM will do nothing but hinder your operations as well; you will not be
: able to start up or use the X Windows interface.  For example, should you
: wish to recompile your kernel (and you probably will), expect a full
: compile to take as long as 4-5 hours.

My experience with 1.2.13 on a 386SX/25 w/6MB would suggest more on the
order of 20-28 hours.  YMMV.  OTOH, that system ran fine until I tried
to upgrade to 2.0.34 (just didn't like the motherboard, methinks).

: By comparison, I get what I consider acceptable performance from a 486/80
: with 24MB RAM (the more RAM the system has, the happier it is).  On said
: system, a full kernel compile takes, on average, 40 minutes start to
: finish.

Just to add to this, I'm serving about 26MB/day on a 486DX/33 with
24MB RAM quite adequately.  The machine load averages are pretty
low.

--
                                                --Sparty
web: http://upside.net/~sparty/