386sx/16 as a router/firewall machine -- is it possible?

386sx/16 as a router/firewall machine -- is it possible?

Post by Ryan Sh » Sun, 25 May 1997 04:00:00



i would like to use an old 386sx/16 (2 megs of ram) as a
firewall/ip_masq box for my local net.  

is linux possible on such a machine?  if so, what distribution would
be best suited for this?  i use redhat on my workstation, but i would
assume i would fits installing that on such an underpowered machine.
would debian perhaps be a better choice for this application?  perhaps
all i would need would be the base disks and some networking packages.

last question:  can such a machine handle firewalling/ip_masqing
duties for a local net of three workstations, most of which generate
little traffic?

thanks for the input in advance.

 
 
 

386sx/16 as a router/firewall machine -- is it possible?

Post by Edward Bet » Mon, 26 May 1997 04:00:00



Quote:

>i would like to use an old 386sx/16 (2 megs of ram) as a
>firewall/ip_masq box for my local net.  

>is linux possible on such a machine?  if so, what distribution would
>be best suited for this?  i use redhat on my workstation, but i would
>assume i would fits installing that on such an underpowered machine.
>would debian perhaps be a better choice for this application?  perhaps
>all i would need would be the base disks and some networking packages.

I have a 386sx 25 4Mb running Slackware nicely, Redhat will run in 4 but needs 5
to install don't know about Debian.
_____________________________________
Edward Betts
http://www.hairnet.demon.co.uk/edward

 
 
 

386sx/16 as a router/firewall machine -- is it possible?

Post by Rw » Tue, 27 May 1997 04:00:00


Sorry to tell you this, but you CANNOT run Linux in 2mb RAM. It's
impossible.. If you're really serious about it you could just get some
more ram cheap..




>>i would like to use an old 386sx/16 (2 megs of ram) as a
>>firewall/ip_masq box for my local net.  

>>is linux possible on such a machine?  if so, what distribution would
>>be best suited for this?  i use redhat on my workstation, but i would
>>assume i would fits installing that on such an underpowered machine.
>>would debian perhaps be a better choice for this application?  perhaps
>>all i would need would be the base disks and some networking packages.

>I have a 386sx 25 4Mb running Slackware nicely, Redhat will run in 4 but needs 5
>to install don't know about Debian.
>_____________________________________
>Edward Betts
>http://www.hairnet.demon.co.uk/edward

 
 
 

386sx/16 as a router/firewall machine -- is it possible?

Post by Paul Gortmak » Wed, 28 May 1997 04:00:00



>i would like to use an old 386sx/16 (2 megs of ram) as a
>firewall/ip_masq box for my local net.  

When you get down to 2MB of RAM, it becomes significantly important
whether the box allows you to remap the 384kB (or at least 256kb)
to above 2MB mark. With no remap, you are looking at only 1664kB
of RAM, which is a struggle even on a cut-down v1.2 kernel.

Quote:>is linux possible on such a machine?  if so, what distribution would
>be best suited for this?  i use redhat on my workstation, but i would
>assume i would fits installing that on such an underpowered machine.
>would debian perhaps be a better choice for this application?  perhaps
>all i would need would be the base disks and some networking packages.

None of the distributions cater to installing on such a low-mem machine.
Most (all?) of them will fail on a box with < 4MB. You are looking at
some custom work on your part probably. There is one exception. I hacked
together a 2 disk "distribution" (I use the word loosely) that would
install on a machine with only 896kB of RAM (yes, the 640kB plus another
256kB of remapped RAM, meaning an install on 1MB machines!) It is at:

        http://www.veryComputer.com/~gpg109/mem.html

or something close to that. It uses a v1.09 linux kernel that I've
hacked down even further in size to get the job done. Quite a large
number of people have e-mailed me stating that they have used it on
old lap-tops and the like with only 1 or 2 MB of RAM. Personally I
don't think it is that useful -- I only did it as a proof of concept.

Quote:>last question:  can such a machine handle firewalling/ip_masqing
>duties for a local net of three workstations, most of which generate
>little traffic?

I've used a v1.2.13 kernel (again, with custom "t* of the fat")
to do ip forwarding via a SLIP link on a 386-40 with only 1664kB of RAM.
It worked well. TO get the ip_masq and firewall goodies, you will need
a custom/lightweight v2.0.x kernel, and 2+ MB of RAM.  For "non-hackers"
it is probably easier to spend the few extra $$ on 4MB of used 30 pin SIMM
and then have a 5MB box that will be easier to deal with. (The 256kB
SIMMS are give-away items now).

Paul.

 
 
 

386sx/16 as a router/firewall machine -- is it possible?

Post by Daniel A. Jimen » Thu, 29 May 1997 04:00:00




>Sorry to tell you this, but you CANNOT run Linux in 2mb RAM. It's
>impossible.. If you're really serious about it you could just get some
>more ram cheap..

As I recall, I used to run Linux in 2MB on my old 386sx/16.  It was
kernel version 0.11 or 0.12, had no networking (no IPC at all, I think),
couldn't run gcc without swapping for hours, etc., but it ran :-)
(I was much happier when I upgraded to 3MB; I could actually run X,
although it took 1/2 hour for xdm to come up...)

I agree, get some more cheap RAM; a few 1MB SIMMs shouldn't cost too much...
--

"I've so much music in my head" -- Maurice Ravel, shortly before his death.
"                             " -- John Cage

 
 
 

386sx/16 as a router/firewall machine -- is it possible?

Post by Daniel A. Jimen » Thu, 29 May 1997 04:00:00




>Sorry to tell you this, but you CANNOT run Linux in 2mb RAM. It's
>impossible.. If you're really serious about it you could just get some
>more ram cheap..

As I recall, I used to run Linux in 2MB on my old 386sx/16.  It was
kernel version 0.11 or 0.12, had no networking (no IPC at all, I think),
couldn't run gcc without swapping for hours, etc., but it ran :-)
(I was much happier when I upgraded to 3MB; I could actually run X,
although it took 1/2 hour for xdm to come up...)

I agree, get some more cheap RAM; a few 1MB SIMMs shouldn't cost too much...
--

"I've so much music in my head" -- Maurice Ravel, shortly before his death.
"                             " -- John Cage

 
 
 

386sx/16 as a router/firewall machine -- is it possible?

Post by David E. F » Fri, 30 May 1997 04:00:00



>Sorry to tell you this, but you CANNOT run Linux in 2mb RAM. It's
>impossible.. If you're really serious about it you could just get some
>more ram cheap..

Actually it's not impossible, but it's difficult, and you need a goodly
amount of swap space. Installation, however, is of course more difficult
with only 2 megs of RAM, but still not impossible as long as you force
the install to use the floppy (no ramdisk, as those eat up 1.44 megs
each, and there is just not enough RAM to hold a ramdisk and the
kernel), and create a swap area and enable swapping on it as soon as
possible into the installation.

--
------------------------------------------------------------------------
David E. Fox                 Tax              Thanks for letting me


-----------------------------------------------------------------------

 
 
 

386sx/16 as a router/firewall machine -- is it possible?

Post by David E. F » Fri, 30 May 1997 04:00:00



>Sorry to tell you this, but you CANNOT run Linux in 2mb RAM. It's
>impossible.. If you're really serious about it you could just get some
>more ram cheap..

Actually it's not impossible, but it's difficult, and you need a goodly
amount of swap space. Installation, however, is of course more difficult
with only 2 megs of RAM, but still not impossible as long as you force
the install to use the floppy (no ramdisk, as those eat up 1.44 megs
each, and there is just not enough RAM to hold a ramdisk and the
kernel), and create a swap area and enable swapping on it as soon as
possible into the installation.

--
------------------------------------------------------------------------
David E. Fox                 Tax              Thanks for letting me


-----------------------------------------------------------------------

 
 
 

1. 386SX-16 with 8 Megs/120 HD...



This pretty much matches my original linux system.  Compiles
generally take a while, but I still often did my CS homework
there on it rather than dialing up or going to a lab.

If you like graphics, there are several svgalib programs out,
just be sure you have a card supported by svgalib (svgalib
supports much fewer cards than xfree does, so you're somewhat
limited there if you want higher resolutions and 256 colors).

Now I continue to use my 386sx and a 386/33, both with 120 meg hd
and 8 megs memory, and cross mounting via nfs, nis, and so on.
Haven't had time to install X yet to even see how usable it is,
but I had no problems at all with just the 386sx.

mrc
--
Mike Castle .-=NEXUS=-.  Life is like a clock:  You can work constantly


    We are all of us living in the shadow of Manhattan.  -- Watchmen

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