Linux on a 386sx?

Linux on a 386sx?

Post by Pet » Wed, 06 Oct 1999 04:00:00



I have an old 386sx with 4mb ram and other such measily specs and would
like to make use of it by using linux on it
any ideas?
-Pete
 
 
 

Linux on a 386sx?

Post by Gary Lawrence Murph » Thu, 07 Oct 1999 04:00:00


    P> I have an old 386sx with 4mb ram and other such measily specs
    P> and would like to make use of it by using linux on it any
    P> ideas?  -Pete

Go for it!  Your first problem is going to be to find a distro that
will do the install without the math co-processor, and if it doesn't
have a CDROM, you may be stuck with RedHat and the NFS or Backpack CDROM
install.

The machine should make a pretty decent print-server or other application
where today's standards of blazingly absurd processor speeds are not

will want to look into the ultra-lightweight window managers.

If it is any consolation, my first Linux machine was a 25MHz 386 (with
the 387) and, at the time, I was totally amazed.  To run X, though, I
scrounged around for another 4Mb.

--

Business Telecom Services : Internet Consulting : http://www.teledyn.com
Linux/GNU Education Group: http://www.egroups.com/group/linux-education/
"Computers are useless.  They can only give you answers."(Pablo Picasso)

 
 
 

Linux on a 386sx?

Post by Patrick Berg » Fri, 08 Oct 1999 04:00:00



> I have an old 386sx with 4mb ram and other such measily specs and would
> like to make use of it by using linux on it
> any ideas?
> -Pete

Yea it should work.  Although with 4M you really would have problems
running X. You would probably only be able use the console.  It would make
a good firewall or IP_masq machine.

Patrick Berge

 
 
 

Linux on a 386sx?

Post by Thomas Kaeme » Fri, 08 Oct 1999 04:00:00




>     P> I have an old 386sx with 4mb ram and other such measily specs
>     P> and would like to make use of it by using linux on it any
>     P> ideas?  -Pete

> Go for it!  Your first problem is going to be to find a distro that
> will do the install without the math co-processor, and if it doesn't

Why? The kernel can emulate the co-processor.

CU Thomas

 
 
 

Linux on a 386sx?

Post by Jens Klaa » Fri, 08 Oct 1999 04:00:00



> I have an old 386sx with 4mb ram and other such measily specs and would
> like to make use of it by using linux on it
> any ideas?

What kind of ideas ? It should work if you don't use X11. If I am right,
than there is a low-mem
HOWTO available for this kind of computers. --

Have fun

Jens (NEC Europe Ltd.)

 
 
 

Linux on a 386sx?

Post by hac » Fri, 08 Oct 1999 04:00:00




> > I have an old 386sx with 4mb ram and other such measily specs and would
> > like to make use of it by using linux on it
> > any ideas?
> > -Pete

> Yea it should work.  Although with 4M you really would have problems
> running X. You would probably only be able use the console.  It would make
> a good firewall or IP_masq machine.

> Patrick Berge

My firewall is a 486/DX33 with 8MB, two cheap NE2000 NIC's.  And it very
nearly keeps up with a cable modem - I've seen 500KB/s downloads, where
my now-deceased 5x86/133 PCI firewall did 650MB/s.  Not enough
difference to bother me, since most sites can't deliver that speed,
anyway.

If you're using dialup, a 386 should work fine.

--

 
 
 

Linux on a 386sx?

Post by dave » Sat, 09 Oct 1999 04:00:00


I loaded Linux on my Dell 386sx-25 notebook with 8 meg. The text based
services work just fine. I finally got X to work, even on the notebook video
card. (That took awhile). X runs very, very slowly, but it does run. It is too
slow to be usable for anything, but if you have an accelerated video card that
X supports, you *may* be able to use X.

Getting Linux installed was a pain since I had no cdrom. I did a hard disk
install (of RH 4.2) and due to RH's very crappy installation routine, this
took about 7 hours. There is probably a better way to do this (such as do an
absolute minimumal installation from the hard disk and then add the needed
rpm's).

Dave



> > I have an old 386sx with 4mb ram and other such measily specs and would
> > like to make use of it by using linux on it
> > any ideas?
> > -Pete

> Yea it should work.  Although with 4M you really would have problems
> running X. You would probably only be able use the console.  It would make
> a good firewall or IP_masq machine.

> Patrick Berge

 
 
 

Linux on a 386sx?

Post by John Kenyo » Mon, 11 Oct 1999 04:00:00





> >     P> I have an old 386sx with 4mb ram and other such measily specs
> >     P> and would like to make use of it by using linux on it any
> >     P> ideas?  -Pete

> > Go for it!  Your first problem is going to be to find a distro that
> > will do the install without the math co-processor, and if it doesn't

> Why? The kernel can emulate the co-processor.

But if the boot disks supplied with the distro haven't got FP emulation
compiled in then you're stuck...

(Of course everyone should know that running a kernel with FP emulation
on
a machine with a FP shouldn't cause any problems)

/john

--
All views expressed are mine, not my employers.
Replies to the newsgroup please, setting follow-ups if reqd.

Change the .l to l for email

 
 
 

Linux on a 386sx?

Post by John Kenyo » Mon, 11 Oct 1999 04:00:00


I've got a 386sx 16MHz, 4Mb ram machine running a 2.0.37 kernel
(based on Slackware 3.4), booting of a Linux server using Root-NFS,
(courtesy of an Etherboot EPROM in the NIC)

It gets used as a hardware development machine, networked terminal.

The speed/power is amusing to say the least - to do anything sensible
I telnet into the server and do it there! 2.34 BogoMIPS!!

I'd have a play just for the sheer hack value.

/John


> I have an old 386sx with 4mb ram and other such measily specs and would
> like to make use of it by using linux on it
> any ideas?
> -Pete

--
All views expressed are mine, not my employers.
Replies to the newsgroup please, setting follow-ups if reqd.

Change the .l to l for email

 
 
 

Linux on a 386sx?

Post by William Patrick McNamar » Mon, 11 Oct 1999 04:00:00


At last check, both Slackware and Redhat come with the kernel supporting FP
emulation out of the box.   My experiences with Slackware are a couple of
revs old, but I installed RH6 on a machine with very similar specs with no
probs.  As a note, don't expect to be able to run an X server on that
machine.

Patrick McNamara





> > >     P> I have an old 386sx with 4mb ram and other such measily specs
> > >     P> and would like to make use of it by using linux on it any
> > >     P> ideas?  -Pete

> > > Go for it!  Your first problem is going to be to find a distro that
> > > will do the install without the math co-processor, and if it doesn't

> > Why? The kernel can emulate the co-processor.

> But if the boot disks supplied with the distro haven't got FP emulation
> compiled in then you're stuck...

> (Of course everyone should know that running a kernel with FP emulation
> on
> a machine with a FP shouldn't cause any problems)

> /john

> --
> All views expressed are mine, not my employers.
> Replies to the newsgroup please, setting follow-ups if reqd.

> Change the .l to l for email

 
 
 

Linux on a 386sx?

Post by Grega Breme » Mon, 11 Oct 1999 04:00:00



> I have an old 386sx with 4mb ram and other such measily specs and would
> like to make use of it by using linux on it
> any ideas?
> -Pete

Oh but sure, check out

        http://gbsoftware.webjump.com/basesetup.html

Good luck,

        Grega

--

-----------------
        Grega Bremec
        Vrbnje 60
        4240 Radovljica
        Slovenija
        +386 64 710 267
        ---------------------------

 
 
 

Linux on a 386sx?

Post by A Guy Called Tyket » Tue, 12 Oct 1999 04:00:00


-----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
Hash: SHA1

        As just about everyone said here, you shouldn't have any
problems. I first tested out linux on a 386SX/16 with 8M memory, around
the days that Slackware 2.0 - Slackware-2.3 was standard. Had no
problems with it whatsoever, with a cheap NE2000 card in it. It handled
X fine at the time ('94 - '95), but, if the box were still there, would
be used as a router or gateway now. Most dists should have FPU support
compiled into their install disks, so you should be able to use them.
When you get it up, you may want to recompile the kernel to get the
bloated support out (you won't want every type of support compiled, as
it will take up memory). You may want to save a night for it. with
kernels nowadays, on a 386SX, you may be talking a 3 - 5 hour kernel
compile.

                                                        BL.
- --


WebMaster, NewsMaster.. Smeghead! :)    |   http://www.omnilinx.net/~tyketto
    PGP: 1024/E9DF4D85 67 6B 33 D0 B9 95 F4 37  4B D1 CE BD 48 B0 06 93

-----BEGIN PGP SIGNATURE-----
Version: GnuPG v1.0.0 (GNU/Linux)
Comment: For info see http://www.gnupg.org

iD8DBQE4AT58yBkZmuMZ8L8RApwPAJ92OuhOaECcJfogKjYbR64OqTgDPQCfZnQw
yBMqE+J88Fr4QT+niQMH2PU=
=UvMr
-----END PGP SIGNATURE-----

 
 
 

Linux on a 386sx?

Post by Simon Hosi » Tue, 12 Oct 1999 04:00:00



> Go for it!  Your first problem is going to be to find a distro that
> will do the install without the math co-processor,

Thomas Kaemer:

Quote:> Why? The kernel can emulate the co-processor.

It's a matter of whether it's enabled.  I think Slackware still has it.

--
# Please try to quote no more than you need to show the context of your post.
# If you also quote my .Sig then I hate you and I hope you get hiccups.

 
 
 

Linux on a 386sx?

Post by Byron A Je » Tue, 12 Oct 1999 04:00:00




------BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
-Hash: SHA1
-
-
-       As just about everyone said here, you shouldn't have any
-problems. I first tested out linux on a 386SX/16 with 8M memory, around
-the days that Slackware 2.0 - Slackware-2.3 was standard. Had no
-problems with it whatsoever, with a cheap NE2000 card in it. It handled
-X fine at the time ('94 - '95), but, if the box were still there, would
-be used as a router or gateway now. Most dists should have FPU support
-compiled into their install disks, so you should be able to use them.
-When you get it up, you may want to recompile the kernel to get the
-bloated support out (you won't want every type of support compiled, as
-it will take up memory). You may want to save a night for it. with
-kernels nowadays, on a 386SX, you may be talking a 3 - 5 hour kernel
-compile.
-

Unfortunately Brad this isn't true anymore. Installation has become difficult
even on 8M machines. The reason is the ramdisk used for installation.

In an effort to get more functionality in the install distributions, especially
Slackware, have gone to a compressed rootdisk that expands into a ramdisk.
Unfortunately for low memory machines, the ramdisk plus the kernel takes
most of the available memory and starting the setup script causes the machine
to run out of memory before it can get going.

Used to be easy to circumnavigate simply by uncompressing the rootdisk onto
a floppy and then running the root disk directly from the floppy. This removed
the ramdisk during installation leaving enough memory to at least get a
swap partition going, which then alleviated the memory issues.

But that path is now blocked because the expanded root filesystem exceeds the
size of the floppy making it impossible to write the silly thing onto a
floppy uncompressed.

I know this from experience. I spent a 1/2 day fighting with a old Dell laptop
with 8M of RAM. I still haven't figured out how to get the install done. My
current idea is to create a minature root partition on the harddisk big enough
to hold the uncompressed rootdisk, then boot the system using that hardisk
partition. Then once I've done the install, reclaim the space as swap by
deleting the adjacent swap partition (with a temp swapfile in place), along
with the temp rootdisk partition, then recreating a single swap partition
covering the area that the two previous partition occupied.

But installing on a low memory machine isn't an easy task any more. Things
work fine after installation presuming that you have enough swap available.
But the installation itself is no fun.

BAJ

 
 
 

Linux on a 386sx?

Post by Kenneth Crud » Tue, 12 Oct 1999 04:00:00



Quote:>Go for it!  Your first problem is going to be to find a distro that
>will do the install without the math co-processor

Why? Does the kernel even use the coproc?

        -Kenny

--
Kenneth R. Crudup, Unix Software Consultant, Scott County Consulting
Home1: 8051 Newell St. #914     Silver Spring, MD 20910-0914    (301) 562-1922
Home2: 5355 Farwell Pl. #242    Fremont, CA 94536-7222          (510) 794-8040
Work:  19420 Homestead Road     Cupertino, CA 95014-0606        (408) 447-6654