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Naib
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 07, 2018 11:49 pm    Post subject: Gentoo on a 486 Reply with quote

Well someone was crazy enough...

http://yeokhengmeng.com/2018/01/make-the-486-great-again/

Quote:
What is the oldest x86 processor that is still supported by a modern Linux kernel in present time?

I asked the above quiz question during the Geekcamp tech conference in Nov 2017 during my emcee role. The theoretical answer as you can glean from the title of this post is the 486 which was first released in 1989. I determined that fact from this article where support for the 386 was dropped in Dec 2012.

To get you interested, here is the result of my effort.

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soitgoes0745
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 08, 2018 12:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I saw this on hackernews yesterday. Pretty cool.
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pjp
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 08, 2018 3:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
The issue with modern Linux distributions like Debian/Ubuntu/Arch is that they distribute compiled binary packages. Typically this is good enough as compiling every single package you want from scratch is time consuming and most people ain’t got the time for that.
:lol:

And, yes, I thought of /that/ video.
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jd2066
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 08, 2018 8:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Installing Gentoo is tough and time-consuming under the best of times even for modern PCs. Doing it for an ancient PC like this further adds to the complexity.
[...]
This is compounded by the fact that this was the first time I installed Gentoo Linux and was unfamiliar with the install steps.

Wow, first time installing Gentoo Linux and doing so on a 486 8O
My first computer was a 486 DX (If I recall correctly) running Windows 3.11 that I got as a kid from my Grandma in the early 90s :)
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Ant P.
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 08, 2018 1:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

11 minutes to run OpenRC startup and 5 to run shutdown, ow. No wonder so many people stick with 0.17…
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krinn
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 08, 2018 2:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I love this kind of weirdo project, just seeing the 486 trying to handle ssh with a "WTF all those hash and key computation will kill me!"
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NeddySeagoon
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 08, 2018 2:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

At least its a DX. The original 486SX in that system was missing the FPU and kernel FPU emulation was removed a long time ago.
Not that there is any FPU code in the kernel but it may well try to use the registers.

The 80 wire IDE cables being a problem is expected.
The motherboard will have the pin used to ground the extra wires left floating ... all those 40 antennas :)
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khayyam
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 08, 2018 4:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

NeddySeagoon wrote:
At least its a DX. The original 486SX in that system was missing the FPU and kernel FPU emulation was removed a long time ago.

Neddy ... the pic there shows a "33Mhz 486SX".

best ... khay
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rufnut
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 08, 2018 6:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I haven't booted my oldie for a few years,

The machine has a "3.5" Floppy that hands over to an old DSL live CD to boot, which takes a few minutes.

Here is an old log:

Code:

-bash-2.05b# cat /proc/*         << probably not wise, I cut the noise out.

ramdisk_size=100000 init=/etc/init lang=us apm=power-off vga=791 initrd=minirt24.gz nomce noapic quiet BOOT_IMAGE=knoppix BOOT_IMAGE=linux24
processor       : 0
vendor_id       : AuthenticAMD
cpu family      : 4
model           : 14
model name      : Am5x86-WT
stepping        : 4
fdiv_bug        : no
hlt_bug         : no
f00f_bug        : no
coma_bug        : no
fpu             : yes
fpu_exception   : yes
cpuid level     : 1
wp              : yes
flags           : fpu
bogomips        : 66.35

Character devices:
  1 mem
  2 pty
  3 ttyp
  4 ttyS
  5 cua
  7 vcs
 10 misc
 13 input
 14 sound
 29 fb
128 ptm
136 pts
162 raw
171 ieee1394
180 usb

Block devices:
  1 ramdisk
  2 fd
 11 sr
 22 ide1
240 cloop
 4: cascade

0-0     Linux                   [kernel]
nodev   rootfs
nodev   bdev
nodev   proc
nodev   sockfs
nodev   tmpfs
nodev   shm
nodev   pipefs
        ext2
nodev   ramfs
        vfat
        iso9660
nodev   devpts
nodev   unionfs
nodev   usbdevfs
nodev   usbfs

           CPU0       
  0:     360718          XT-PIC  timer
  1:       2623          XT-PIC  keyboard
  2:          0          XT-PIC  cascade
  4:        457          XT-PIC  NE2000
  8:          0          XT-PIC  rtc
 15:       2201          XT-PIC  ide1
NMI:          0
LOC:          0
ERR:          0
MIS:          0
00000000-0009efff : System RAM
000a0000-000bffff : Video RAM area
000c0000-000c7fff : Video ROM
000d8000-000db7ff : Extension ROM
000f0000-000fffff : System ROM
00100000-0203ffff : System RAM
  00100000-0025aab0 : Kernel code
  0025aab1-002e8803 : Kernel data
0000-001f : dma1
0020-003f : pic1
0040-0043 : timer0
0050-0053 : timer1
0060-006f : keyboard
0070-007f : rtc
0080-008f : dma page reg
00a0-00bf : pic2
00c0-00df : dma2
00f0-00ff : fpu
0170-0177 : ide1
0300-031f : eth0
0376-0376 : ide1
03c0-03df : vga+

-bash-2.05b# lsmod
Module                  Size  Used by    Not tainted
ne                      6624   1
8390                    6368   0 [ne]
crc32                   2816   0 [8390]
soundcore               3428   0 (autoclean)
mousedev                3832   0 (unused)
hid                    22788   0 (unused)
input                   3168   0 [mousedev hid]
usbcore                58240   0 [hid]
unionfs                67168   7
serial                 52228   0 (autoclean)
ieee1394              183300   0
pcmcia_core            39840   0
rtc                     7036   0 (autoclean)
cloop                  39204   2
ide-cd                 28576   0
ide-scsi                9040   1
-bash-2.05b#

 



It does still boot but stops at the BIOS checksum.

I have no BIOS Backup Battery installed, so it does not leak on the Mobo.

Also need to find my AT keyboard or adapter to ps2 << IIRC adapters might not work.

:oops:
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NeddySeagoon
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 08, 2018 7:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

khayyam,

Indeed it does. The writeup says it was upgraded to an AMD 5x86 at 133 MHz before purchase.
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khayyam
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 08, 2018 9:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

NeddySeagoon wrote:
Indeed it does. The writeup says it was upgraded to an AMD 5x86 at 133 MHz before purchase.

Neddy ... hehe, didn't read past the first couple of paragraphs, doh!

best ... khay
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Tony0945
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 08, 2018 11:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

jd2066 wrote:
My first computer was a 486 DX (If I recall correctly) running Windows 3.11 that I got as a kid from my Grandma in the early 90s :)
Wow! What a nice Grandma. I bought mine June 29, 1994 and it cost me $3,507 direct from Micron computer. 486DX4-100 (blazing fast) and with a huge 16MB (sic) RAM. The hard drive was a 540MB Conner. formatted 512MB because that's all that WfW 3.11 would handle. I never ran Gentoo but I did run Caldera later.
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steve_v
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 09, 2018 2:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I ran Gentoo on a DX4/120 with 21MB RAM way back when. It took a while to install.
Still got a DX4/100 running DSL, off my very first (80MB) IDE HDD. Says something to reliability that that drive still works.
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 09, 2018 3:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hm. Ok. I have a -89 manufactured CRT here... Rest of the hardware should be easy to obtain.
Thinking of accepting the challenge. :D
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eccerr0r
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 12, 2018 9:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Is it really a modern kernel?

ISA drivers have been removed from the kernel since 3.4-ish? I have a 486DX4/100 motherboard with 48MB RAM on it to try, though without modern ISA drivers, it will be tough to do anything with it. I still have the 1MB ATI Mach8 video card that I used to run X on...

I recall that a ~ P100 was the slowest machine that I could even try to decompress a MP3 in real time, so indeed those music files needed to be decompressed ahead of time.
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NeddySeagoon
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 12, 2018 9:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

eccerr0r,

That's ISA Sound Card Support in 4.14.1
Code:
  ┌────────────────────────────── ISA sound devices ───────────────────────────────┐
  │ CONFIG_SND_ISA:                                                                │ 
  │                                                                                │ 
  │ Support for sound devices connected via the ISA bus.                           │ 
  │                                                                                │ 
  │ Symbol: SND_ISA [=y]                                                           │ 
  │ Type  : boolean                                                                │ 
  │ Prompt: ISA sound devices                                                      │ 
  │   Location:                                                                    │ 
  │     -> Device Drivers                                                          │ 
  │       -> Sound card support (SOUND [=y])                                       │ 
  │         -> Advanced Linux Sound Architecture (SND [=y]) 


Even the very old ISA PATA Drivers are still there.
Code:
  │ CONFIG_PATA_LEGACY:                                                                           │ 
  │                                                                                               │ 
  │ This option enables support for ISA/VLB/PCI bus legacy PATA                                   │ 
  │ ports and allows them to be accessed via the new ATA layer.                                   │ 
  │                                                               


VLB ... remember that hack. An expansion card on the processor bus.

The ISA stuff will be well hidden by the options it depends on.
I didn't look in 4.15.2 as I don't want to trash my current .config.
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 12, 2018 10:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

eccerr0r wrote:
I recall that a ~ P100 was the slowest machine that I could even try to decompress a MP3 in real time, so indeed those music files needed to be decompressed ahead of time.
Oh. Brings back some memories...

I remember just being able to play some low bitrate mp3's on my PowerPC 603 75MHz inside Macintosh Performa 5200.
In those times it took about half hour to download a one 3MB mp3. I remember mp3's were distributed on plain websites back then. You only needed to ... "Altavista" the song name and add mp3 to the end of the search string.
Not so fun times. Macs were horrible to use at that time.
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eccerr0r
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 12, 2018 11:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

NeddySeagoon wrote:
The ISA stuff will be well hidden by the options it depends on.
I didn't look in 4.15.2 as I don't want to trash my current .config.

Some are REALLY hidden, meaning, removed.

Try finding the 3com/3c503.c and amd/depca.c Ethernet drivers (I especially like my DEC depca, it's about as good/fast as the 3c509 on ISA despite it using an AMD LANCE ethernet chip and everything is through hole; it even has a full 64K memory mapped buffer). The 3c503 and especially 3c501 probably deserve to go out to pasture but even the 3c503 is an acceptable card even if it maxes out at ~300KB/sec. Note that none of these cards support PnP... and the only ISA ethernet cards I currently have are the depca and the 3c503, which was really depressing when I couldn't find the driver for either of them :(

Fortunately the ISA core is still there, but with these drivers not part of the main distribution, they will bitrot even if you grab an old copy. I do wonder how much bitrot occurred with the Mach8 driver, though likely this driver requires UMS which I don't know if things still support...

---

Another thing about the P100 playing MP3s - this was running Linux trying merely 128Kb/sec MP3. The preemptions seems to cost quite a bit of cpu time and/or was not well optimized. I forgot if I was trying to use mpg123 or using x11amp at the time, chances are, this was trying to run the really bloated X11 environment.

I was also experimenting with playing sound with the old pcsp driver (don't know about the current new one), a 486/33 running Linux is just barely fast enough to play MOD files with its mixing. At least this is purely integer operations.
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steve_v
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 13, 2018 4:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

eccerr0r wrote:
I recall that a ~ P100 was the slowest machine that I could even try to decompress a MP3 in real time, so indeed those music files needed to be decompressed ahead of time.
Nah, a 486-class can play MP3s in realtime, with the right decoder.

I remember spending some time optimising mpg123 to get it to play 128k MP3s on my DX4/120. IIRC I got it down to about 65% CPU, with the CAMP console frontend. So a dx4/100 should also be able to do it.
Whether those 486 specific optimisations still exist is another question. I don't recall which patches I was using at the time, but these look promising.
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2018 10:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The less output generated the better on old hardware. A VT is better to use than a terminal running in a WM, and TTF/XFT fonts should be avoided. It takes too much resource to render that stuff when it could be used for something else. Look for "quiet" options and stick to corefonts if you really need to run "X" while compiling.
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