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Re: what's the killer app for GNU/Linux systems?

On Sat, Dec 02, 2006 at 10:03:46AM -0500, Douglas Tutty wrote:
> So if one finds a neat piece of old gear, say a 386 (which debian now
> doesn't support) or even 286 (which linux never supported) what
> monitarily-free (since I don't hack existing code, just write new) OS
> options are there other than DOS?
A legacy version of Linux.  Which, I tend to think is OK.  At some
point, the cut must be made and support for older stuff must be dropped.
I think that the main problem is that people think that is realistic to
expect that they should be able to get the latest Linux kernel and be
able to install it on 25 year old hardware without a problem.  I think
that is not realistic.

> For example, on eBay there's a very ruggedized text-only (amber!) 286
> laptop apparently still solid and as reliable as ever.  But what could I
> run on it other than DOS?  I would like to have vim, mc, minicom, ppp, ssh,
> and lpr, in addition to the coreutils and a programming language like
> python or fortran.
You might be able to make it happen with DSL.  However, bear in mind
that Linux does not run by default on a 286 since it lacks an MMU.
However, there are projects out there focusing on this.  In particular,
because 286 chips are still used in embedded systems and there are lots
of other embedded CPUs which lack the MMU needed by Linux.  In this,
case, there is a thriving community out there which can probably provide
what you need.



Roberto C. Sanchez

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