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43

Note, Linux is only a kernel, like msdos.sys in DOS or krnl386.exe in Windows. No. It had no GUI, it was purely command line. In Linus' initial statement, roughly with the release of the Linux kernel 0.0.1, we said, he ported bash and gcc to it. He ported probably also the most important GNU tools (make and fileutils (today part of coreutils)). I'm ...


41

If you're looking to run a modern-ish version of Linux, the oldest hardware is likely a Intel 80386 from 1986, probably with some memory upgrades -- 640k isn't enough for everybody. Note that support for the 386 was dropped with the 3.8 kernel, so you'll need 3.7 or older. 3.7 is new enough to run most current software, particularly the sort that you'd ...


26

Slackware still claims to support 486s: Below is a list of minimum system requirements needed to install and run Slackware. 486 processor 64MB RAM (1GB+ suggested) About 5GB+ of hard disk space for a full install CD or DVD drive (if not bootable, then a bootable USB flash stick or PXE server/network card) Knoppix also still claims to support 486s, ...


26

Early Linux distributions, including MCC and TAMU, used Miquel van Smoorenburg’s sysvinit package (which was originally written for Minix in February 1992 and ported to Linux in July 1992; it is now maintained on Savannah). This came with built-in examples for two styles of init setup, both based on /etc/inittab and runlevels: “simple” RC, with a few ...


24

February 1992 it changed to GPL license. Change to GPL is notified in 0.12 release, February 1992 First GPL release 0.99, December 1992


23

Linux still supports the 80486 SX: the SX was simply a DX without the FPU, and the FPU emulation code is still present (Processor type and features->Math emulation). Finding a distro is a bit trickier. Gentoo still supports the 486 in theory (when the installation instructions call for downloading a "stage 3" archive, simply download the "i486" version), ...


20

The Intel 80486DX came out in 1989, and that can run Gentoo Linux. This is really nice because most Gentoo portage packages are very current. You can build a completely current Linux kernel for it too. What makes this possible on Gentoo is that the installer software is compiled for the old 80486DX, and then during install you can recompile the portage ...


20

TL;DR: Until Unix v7, if you wanted to be able to use a serial port for terminal logins, it had to have a name starting with "/dev/tty". At the time the first Unix systems were developed, it was common to use a Teletype as a terminal. Early models of the DEC PDP-11 computer came with a Teletype intended to be used as the console terminal. "tty" is an ...


19

I have had great success with Gentoo Linux on the earliest generation of Intel 80486 processors, though I had to patch it (below). It works on the later ones too (486DX2 and 486DX4, both clock multiplied and having the back-ported Pentium CPUID instruction). I have it working on a Compaq LTE Elite 4/75CX laptop with a whopping 24MiB of memory. Bugs have ...


19

Before we had graphics support in the Linux kernel, any program that wanted to enter graphics mode had to access the graphics card directly. Those programs were generally started with root privileges and asked the kernel to provide direct hardware access from user mode. Besides the X Server, some tools used SVGAlib, a lightweight library to acces (Super)VGA ...


15

A certain freak has successfully run Ubuntu on a 8-bit microcontroller. From startup to the Ubuntu login window, it took him six hours. In order to do that, he had to write something that emulates a 32-bit CPU. So it's imaginable that you could port a modern Linux to a 70ies computer.


14

Kernel modules have been available since version 1.1.85 in January 1995 (see the introduction of README.modules in the 1.1.85 patch). At first, few drivers were actually available as modules, but within a few years everything that made sense as a module was available as a module. When developing a new driver for the kernel, it’s easier to work on it as a ...


14

No. The Hurd was a separate effort, using a microkernel design. Some computer scientists believe this to have more appealing properties than the pragmatic monolithic design of the Linux kernel, but it is also more difficult to implement, which is partly why the Hurd was not delivered in a timely fashion and the world ended up going with Linux.


13

Historically a computer terminal or modem would be the most common device connected to a serial port. Thus, the default file name for the device reflects its most common usage, similarly to /dev/lpN for parallel ports, where "lp" stands for "line printer". For convenience, the device files corresponding to the (sub)set of serial lines dedicated to user ...


13

Modern Gentoo still works on the 486 in 2018! You can see the details including the video of my attempt here: http://yeokhengmeng.com/2018/01/make-the-486-great-again/ Detailed instructions: https://github.com/yeokm1/gentoo-on-486 Summary of implementation: 1. Use a modern PC to do the compilation and installation 2. Adjust Portage settings to target 486 ...


13

Not Linux, but I know you can run UNIX 5 with a tool called gbaunix. You can read about the process in Amit Singh's paper on kernelthread and you can browse through the source on my unofficial fork on GitHub. You will need a a copy of the RK05 disk image to use gbaunix. If you don't want to recompile the binary, you can cat the disk image with the ...


12

Would ELKS count as modern Linux? It can be run on even older hardware (original IBM PC).


12

I don't know of any Linux-hosted software which is compatible with Amiga Explorer. There are a number of other ways of transferring files to and from Amigas from Linux though. Over a null-modem cable, you can bootstrap file transfers using type to copy transwarp across, then use that to copy files. In detail: on the Amiga, use Serial to set the serial port ...


11

OpenBSD supports 80486DX and higher. 80486SX is not supported because it lacks floating point.


10

Linux itself will not run on the GBA SP. The reason for this is that the CPUs (one ARM7TDMI and one Z80) do not have a way to protect and manage memory. The component to do that is the MMU, which needs to be present on all computers that can run Linux. But a variant called uCLinux (short for microcontroller Linux) has some things stripped out and could ...


10

Technically, the answer to your question is: "No, there is no Linux client for Amiga explorer". However, there are a few options to transfer files between modern computers and Amigas. Parallel port. This is the most primitive solution and it requires that you have a computer with a parallel port, these can be quite rare. ;) There is an eBay vendor which ...


10

I have a 1991 Sun Ultra 1 from 1991 which can run the very latest Linux kernel (I do so under the Gentoo distribution). As old computers go, though, it is quite modern, with a 64-bit CPU, and I've equipped it with a full gigabyte of RAM, which was almost unheard of in that era.


9

Accoridng to this article link Linux variants dropped support for the i386 processors in version 3.8. However, Distro Watch link still has quite a few distros that support the i386 architecture. Some of them include: Mint Debian Zorin And many others, I'm sure YMMV. I've not installed Linux on anything older than an original AMD Athlon. I've got an Athlon ...


9

Cheaper (free) licenses. Besides, they didn't need a full-blown graphic OS under them, so they could run on cheaper machines (less RAM and even without a graphics card).


8

It turns out that FASM can generate MZ 16-bit DOS executables directly: format MZ mov ah, 9h mov dx, hello int 21h mov ax, 4c00h int 21h hello db 'Hello, world!', 13, 10, '$' Which can be assembled and linked automatically: $ fasm hello.asm It's not the same format as NASM, but it works for my purposes for now.


8

No, Hurd kernel had been in developement for a few years before Linux kernel was released.


8

Unless someone can come up with some actual market research from the 1990s ("we've asked n companies which web servers they chose, and why"), this will be opinion based, but: I'd venture that (a) Unices had a head start as internet servers, and that (b) Linux was the cheapest good-enough platform. Regarding (a), there were many internet services (...


7

NASM can generate OMF-format object files, which are the most common format for DOS programs (although there are other options -- e.g. DJGPP uses COFF format object files, but IIRC the results needs a 386 to run). A search for linkers that support this format turns up few possibilities: JWLink is a fork of the old Watcom linker, which was open-sourced a ...


7

If you want old hardware supported by current distros, Debian's MIPS Port is supposed to run on a 1993 SGI Indy.


7

Simple answer: Because there is no default kernel defined within the loader. More in depth answer: Debian's m68k port is available for at least a dozen different machine (and CPU) architectures. This ranges from Apple, Amiga and Atari to embedded systems and rare workstations. Linux is a monolithic machine specific system. Unlike the PC, these 68k ...


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