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
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 when the 2.4 kernel is no longer maintained / supported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
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.