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Re: Dropping 386 support

Andres Salomon wrote:
> Hi,
> The kernel team is considering dropping 386 support (the 80386
> processor, not the i386 arch) from Debian.  Currently, in order to
> support 386, we include a 486 emulation patch (the patch can be viewed
> from here:
> <http://svn.debian.org/viewcvs/kernel/trunk/kernel/source/kernel-source-2.6..8-2.6.8/debian/patches/x86-i486_emu.dpatch>).  The patch is a requirement for 386 machines, as debian's gcc generates binaries with 486 opcodes.  This patch is known to be buggy (see bug #250468), and is considered unreleasable.  The members of the kernel team don't have the hardware, time, and/or desire to fix it, and the upstream author is too busy to fix it.  As d-i rc2 is about to be released (and that is presumably what sarge will release with), we need to make the decision what to do.  We have two options; we can either keep the patch in, risk releasing sarge w/ 386 support containing known security holes, and hope someone someone fixes the problem soon; or, we can drop 386 support completely.

trunk/kernel/source/kernel-source-2.6..8-2.6.8/debian/patches/x86-i486_emu.dpatch: unknown location

    HTTP Response Status

404 Not Found
Traceback (most recent call last):
  File "/org/svn.debian.org/viewcvs/lib/viewcvs.py", line 3191, in main
  File "/org/svn.debian.org/viewcvs/lib/viewcvs.py", line 308, in run_viewcvs
    % self.where, '404 Not Found')
ViewCVSException: 404 Not Found: trunk/kernel/source/kernel-source-2.6..8-2.6.8/debian/patches/x86-i486_emu.dpatch: unknown locatio

Wrong path?  Or is ViewCVS broken currently?

The bug report you've listed isn't quite helpful since the discusssion
ends with Herbert saying that everything seems to be ok and Arjan
moving on to lkml, but no link or whatsoever has been added.

> Reasons for dropping 386 support are as follows:
>   * d-i currently requires at least 20 megs of ram to install.  My 386
> had 4 megs of ram, which required using lowmem w/ potato's installer.  I
> don't see standard d-i as being a viable option for installing debian on
> your 386 anytime soon.

I guess the lowmem version won't help either?

But still you can upgrade your woody i386 to sarge.  Last time I
installed an i386 I was too lazy to wait loads of time and installed
the disk on a Pentibum, then moved the disk to its final location and
booted the i386.  For that, it's not that problematic if the installer
doesn't support i386 as long as the installed system supports it.

>   * Potato ran decently on my 386 (functioning as a NAT box).  I
> upgraded to woody, and it ran much slower.  Sarge will be even worse;
> this will not get better, especially considering 486 opcodes will be
> emulated on the 386.

True.  For i386 Linux 2.2 is said to be the best kernel suited.



We all know Linux is great... it does infinite loops in 5 seconds.
        -- Linus Torvalds

Please always Cc to me when replying to me on the lists.

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