Bug#319823: Bug#319878: kernel-image-2.6-686: the entire range of 2.6 debian kernels do not install on m/cs with <= 48mb RAM
My firewall/mail gateway/shell host for 2-3 people is an old P90 with 40
mb of ram. It works well with Debian and I see no reason to upgrade the
hardware. Woody installer worked perfectly back in the days and
dist-upgrade to Sarge did too.
I bet there are tons of home/small office gateways with this kind of hardware,
which may have not seen the Sarge or even Woody installers since
'apt-get dist-upgrade' to a newer release works so well.
According to Sarge manuals 32 MB of memory is the minimum
<http://www.debian.org/releases/stable/i386/ch02s05.html.en> so 48 MB
should be enough. The default kernel choice is 2.4, so linux26 can have
stricter requirements. Those requirements will have to be written down
before the next release if 2.4 is dropped, so perhaps someone could know them
IMO, older installers available from ftp://ftp.debian.org/debian-archive
and mirrors can be used for machines with less than currently
required amount of RAM memory. (With smaller disk space its a totally different
issue, Sarge requires a minimum of 110 MB with normal installer and without
hacks.) After installing Woody for example, an 'apt-get dist-upgrade'
via network or CDs to Sarge works (ok, some glitches exist but it
As dist-upgrades are supposed to work only from the previous release,
then perhaps a user with 8 MB of RAM could install Slink which requires
4 MB of ram
and dist-upgrade with swap enabled via potato and woody to sarge. This
of course requires that CPU (>i486?), drivers (does ISA bus still work? One
old Gravis Ultrasound worked with little tweaking on 2.6.x) and disk
space work with all of the releases.
(Actually that sounds like an interesting hack for someone and
documenting it for Debian installation manual would be great. And I've
been around only since late Woody so this might just sound easier than
it actually is...)
So from my, x86-Debian-user point of view, newer installers don't have to
work on the old-but-stil-usable-for-my-needs machines if there is a documented
path for running latest Debian stable on it. To me, documentation is
sufficient if an 'apt-get dist-upgrade' like upgrade from previous release is
supported -- and it is.