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Re: Debian on a 386? Unlikely.

> > I'm not so sure of that any more...  We use a 486-25 at work with 8MB
> > of RAM and 80MB of disk.  It runs a fine firewall/dial-up server.  In
> > fact, the only thing it _can't_ do is _upgrade_!  Debian has gotten
> > sooo big, that I have to make a 4 to 8MB swapfile (8MB swap partition)
> > just to run dpkg, which is difficult on the limited disk space.  Dselect
> > takes about 20 mins just to bring up the selection screen.
> Yes, upgrades on my DECpc 386sx-20 (8M RAM, 100M disk) are a bit painful.

First, I removed every documentation file I could find, made a 4MB swapfile
on /tmp, ran dselect to choose my packages, ran apt-get to get the files,
dpkg (manually) to install them a few at a time removing all documentation
files and "-old" files in between.  Ouch!

> > Of course, I have a 486dx2-66 with 64MB of ram and 2GB disk that
> > runs Debian just fine.  I doubt there are many 386s out there with more
> > than the first system, though.
> Ours is a glorified terminal.  It is suitable for the kids to write
> stories on in text, though.  As for the pain of upgrading, I just don't
> (not unless I have to ;)  That being said, I did upgrade it to potato and
> 2.2.x of the kernel recently, just to see what would happen.  It seems to
> run pretty solid.
> But of all the distros out there, I think Debian is *most* suited
> for this installation.  I'd hate to make it so that it is no longer
> possible to install Debian on such a minimal system.  If Debian ever
> goes with Pentium as the minimum supported ix86 architecture for the main
> distro, I think there needs to be a i386 tree split off for these old
> systems.

It very well could be.  In truth, all that is needed is a minimal package
list.  That's what was sucking up all the memory when trying to run
dselect.  The "essential" 1CD disk from CheapBytes gave me no problems
when I used it to install the original system on the little guy.

It'll also be nice if apt ever gets the ability to redirect paths.  That'll
make it possible to say things like "never install anything under /usr/doc".
That feature was in the original "deity" specs.

                                  ( bcwhite@pobox.com )

The future is not set.  There is no fate but what we make for ourselves.  -- JC

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