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46 votes
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What is the oldest computer capable of running a modern version of GNU/Linux?

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 ...
Mark's user avatar
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43 votes
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Does the first version of Linux developed by Linus Torvalds have a GUI?

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 ...
peterh's user avatar
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34 votes
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When did the Linux kernel become libre software?

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
Justme's user avatar
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33 votes

Which Linux or BSD distributions do still support i386, i486 or i586 CPUs?

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 ...
Stephen Kitt's user avatar
31 votes
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What init system was used in early Linux distributions?

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 ...
Stephen Kitt's user avatar
30 votes

Which Linux or BSD distributions do still support i386, i486 or i586 CPUs?

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 ...
Theodore Head's user avatar
27 votes

Which Linux or BSD distributions do still support i386, i486 or i586 CPUs?

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 ...
Mark's user avatar
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26 votes
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Is there a seamless, Wine-like AmigaOS emulator for Linux, specifically for text-based programs?

A solution like that already exists: it's called vamos (Virtual AMiga OS) and emulates a 68k CPU and a bunch of libraries - enough to get terminal only programs (like compilers and assemblers) running:...
Venner's user avatar
  • 1,684
25 votes

Why did Linux standardise on RTS/CTS flow control for serial ports

In short, Linux is a Unix-like operating system kernel and does things like other Unix-like operating systems. The least common denominator for different Unix-like systems is the POSIX standard, which,...
Justme's user avatar
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23 votes

What is the oldest computer capable of running a modern version of GNU/Linux?

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....
Theodore Head's user avatar
21 votes

Why is the serial port driver named "/dev/ttyS#"?

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 ...
Ken Gober's user avatar
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21 votes
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Was there ever a Linux kernel driver for accessing disks via BIOS?

At first, I was convinced that such a driver had never been written. But in fact, there was one; although it was never merged into upstream Linux. Thanks to @Joshua for pointing me to it. The driver ...
user3840170's user avatar
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20 votes

How did X talk to the video card before DRI/DRM?

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 ...
Michael Karcher's user avatar
19 votes

What is the oldest computer capable of running a modern version of GNU/Linux?

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 ...
user258532's user avatar
18 votes
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Is it possible to run Linux on a GBA SP?

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 ...
JAL's user avatar
  • 9,620
16 votes

Which Linux or BSD distributions do still support i386, i486 or i586 CPUs?

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://...
Yeo Kheng Meng's user avatar
15 votes
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Was Hurd kernel created as a modification of Linux kernel?

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 ...
rwallace's user avatar
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14 votes

Which Linux or BSD distributions do still support i386, i486 or i586 CPUs?

OpenBSD supports 80486DX and higher. 80486SX is not supported because it lacks floating point.
Ken Gober's user avatar
  • 11.4k
14 votes
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Why is the serial port driver named "/dev/ttyS#"?

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 ...
Leo B.'s user avatar
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14 votes
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Since when are Linux drivers loaded as kernel modules?

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 ...
Stephen Kitt's user avatar
14 votes

What is the oldest computer capable of running a modern version of GNU/Linux?

Would ELKS count as modern Linux? It can be run on even older hardware (original IBM PC).
sendmoreinfo's user avatar
13 votes
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What 386-specific features did Linux use?

One of Linus’ other posts provides the answer: PS. Yes - it's free of any minix code, and it has a multi-threaded fs. It is NOT protable (uses 386 task switching etc), and it probably never will ...
Stephen Kitt's user avatar
13 votes

Why did Linux standardise on RTS/CTS flow control for serial ports

Linux started as a hobbyist operating system. It was in no position to set any kind of standard. Instead, Linux implemented what hobbyists needed at that time. When Linux got popular, the convention ...
Michael Karcher's user avatar
12 votes

Is there a Linux client for Amiga Explorer?

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,...
Stephen Kitt's user avatar
12 votes

Is it possible to run Linux on a GBA SP?

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 ...
Omar and Lorraine's user avatar
12 votes

What is the oldest computer capable of running a modern version of GNU/Linux?

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 ...
Jim MacKenzie's user avatar
12 votes
Accepted

Is there a way to link object files for DOS from Linux?

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 ...
Sydius's user avatar
  • 2,634
12 votes
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What, if any, available older versions of Linux distributions does xroach gracefully run on?

I just uploaded a new version of xroach to sourceforge. This version works in Gnome KDE, but also in FVWM and the like: https://sourceforge.net/projects/xroachng/ for the bleeding edge visit: https://...
Willem Vermin's user avatar
12 votes

Can Linux boot beyond 1023 cylinders on old BIOS?

As the large disk howto explains, LILO bootstraps through a loader that still uses the BIOS, this is why LILO didn't work for you. On the other hand, nuni does not use BIOS services but accesses IDE ...
dirkt's user avatar
  • 28.2k
11 votes

Connecting a Vintage Monochrome Monitor to a Modern PC

Does anyone know hard or time consuming it would be to achieve this? Assuming you have a modern PC with VGA out, or you can put in a graphics card with VGA out, it's not hard at all, if you know a ...
dirkt's user avatar
  • 28.2k

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