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Bug#319878: kernel-image-2.6-686: the entire range of 2.6 deb ian kernels do not install on m/cs with <= 48mb RAM

debian-release cc'd due to minimum system requirement stuff mentioned in a 
previous message...

Luke Kenneth Casson Leighton writes...

>  my bug report invites you to consider the impact that such
>  a policy decision "roll your own or install 2.4 on anything
>  with <= 48mb of ram", made by mr horms, will have on the
>  debian project.

In reality, not much. But the nice thing about Debian is that it's built to be 
able to support the needs of minority groups, so there could be a solution for 
this group if there are people motivated to work on and maintain it. It's not 
clear that there are though :(

>  when the 2.4 kernel is no longer maintained / supported
>  by debian, in oh [wild guess] 2-3 years time, anyone not
>  sufficiently technically competent who is using debian on
>  such older hardware is left completely shafted.

Yes, but Debian supported those users far longer than any other major 
distribution, they abandoned older hardware a long time ago. Just as Debian no 
longer supports 386/25 systems with 8mb RAM, there will come a day when it no 
longer makes sense to support pentium-90s with 48mb RAM. (I would argue we've 
passed it already...)

If users want to continue to keep this old hardware limping along, I don't 
think it's unreasonable that they have the competency to do it themselves 
instead of being a burden on the developers and majority of the user base. 
Users who can't can upgrade their hardware, Debian's minimum config will 
always be a system that is nearly free to obtain in most countries around the 

There is an organization in Portland, OR, USA called FreeGeek ( 
http://freegeek.org ) that recycles computer equipment and turns it into as 
many working computers as possible (running Debian) and donates them to 
various groups around the world. They maintain a specification of the minimum 
requirements for the systems they build. Currently this is,

    * Pentium III 500 - 566mhz
    * 128MB RAM
    * 9 - 10 GB hard drive
    * 14x - 24x CD ROM drive
    * Floppy disk drive
    * 17 inch color monitor
    * 56k Modem
    * 10/100 Network card
    * Keyboard
    * Mouse
    * Speakers

IMO, at any given time this spec is a good indication of what the minimal 
system is to even attempt to run Debian on, anything less would be painful.

If the debian-release team decides to come up with minimum system requirements 
for etch, I think a good place to aim for i386 would be slightly less than 
whereever the freekbox spec is at the time.

Matt Taggart

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