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Thread: can hardware from 1991 still work on today's Linux kernel

  1. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
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    11,653

    Re: can hardware from 1991 still work on today's Linux kernel

    I just pulled an old ASUS P5NSLI mobo out of the closet recently to set up a PC with a floppy drive to read some old discs and things worked out perfectly using 18.04. I think the kernel developers just recently decided to finally drop support for floppy drives so it might be a good idea to keep an old ISO laying around just in case. That doesn't date back as far as 1991 though - more like circa 2005/2006. The biggest challenge I had was finding an old enough LGA775 CPU in my collection to run on that board. The BIOS was from January 2006. Still being able to run 14 to 15 year old hardware gives Linux some bragging rights I think

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Xubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala

    Re: can hardware from 1991 still work on today's Linux kernel

    I found 386 beyond economical to use with Linux/BSD back in the 1998-99 era. I couldn't get X windows working, KDE was out of the question.

    You could make it work, but it would be a lot of work and probably require advanced steps: recompiling kernel modules and what-not. I'd recommend Gentoo or BSD if you were serious. Distros meant to compile from source make it easier to target troublesome platforms like an old 386, I think.

    It's not worth it in my opinion unless your primary interest is historic or academic or hobbyist oriented... Recreating Linux's first platforms for a public display at a convention would make it worthwhile to pursue a project like this, and you'd probably be able to find ready helpers and people who want to have a gander at what you're up to...

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
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    Wheeling WV USA
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    1,523
    Distro
    Xubuntu 18.04 Bionic Beaver

    Re: can hardware from 1991 still work on today's Linux kernel

    one can always go back and grab an old kernel version for old hardware and start a project team to scan through all the change logs since then to fix all the bugs and adopt new compatible features, starting your own kernel fork. you might want to fork a custom toolchain, too. at least, you won't worry about issues of porting to other processors since you'll be focusing on old 386s and maybe some of today's embedded SoCs.

    to the extent that an OS tries to keep working with old technology, that may limit its ability to take advantage of new technology. OTOH there are many technological options of finite resource, today, like raspberry-Pi and such, that we also want to use. my old Apple II with 48k will never run Linux even though i did manage to implement multitasking on it way back then.
    What do you call someone who speaks 3 languages? Trilingual.
    What do you call someone who speaks 2 languages? Bilingual.
    What do you call someone who speaks 1 language? American.

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Xubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala

    Re: can hardware from 1991 still work on today's Linux kernel

    my old Apple II with 48k will never run Linux even though i did manage to implement multitasking on it way back then.
    ...

    explain yourself.

    ...

    Please.

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