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smeezekitty 03-17-2014 04:52 PM

The 80486...
 
Hi all on the forum.
I am posting this from my 486DX/33 with 24 MB of RAM and running Windows 3.11!
Its running suprisingly well today. I tried to post this from Links2 on Linux but it is a huge
memory pig and would promptly trigger the OOM killer. Then I tried to build retawk for Linux
which uses a lot less RAM but doesn't support SSL without openSSL or GNUtls (I think it was) and
I could not get those to build with uClibc.

Opera 3.60 in win 3.11 works suprisingly well for what it is though

Doc CPU 03-17-2014 06:06 PM

Hi there,

Quote:

Originally Posted by smeezekitty (Post 5136276)
I am posting this from my 486DX/33 with 24 MB of RAM and running Windows 3.11!

cool, wow! Did you raid a museum? ;-)
Using what browser?

Quote:

Originally Posted by smeezekitty (Post 5136276)
Its running suprisingly well today. I tried to post this from Links2 on Linux but it is a huge memory pig and would promptly trigger the OOM killer. Then I tried to build retawk for Linux which uses a lot less RAM but doesn't support SSL without openSSL or GNUtls (I think it was) and I could not get those to build with uClibc.

Opera 3.60 in win 3.11 works suprisingly well for what it is though

Oh, I suppose that answers my question above.
I find that post very interesting because I still have a small single-board PC here, a 486/133 with 32MB RAM. I'm very eager to put it to some use again and I was searching for a suitable Linux distro or components. I played a bit with Tiny Core, but it wouldn't even boot on that biscuit PC. My next Idea was to put together syslinux, a minimalistic 2.6 kernel and a busybox for starters and see what that combo can do (but I haven't yet got around to actually trying). After all, that little board has four TTY ports and might act as some kind of "intelligent multiple TTY unit".
Anyway, I don't intend to run a desktop or a GUI of any kind on this biscuit, just the kernel and very few services.

[X] Doc CPU

smeezekitty 03-17-2014 06:42 PM

Still on it!
Quote:

Originally Posted by Doc CPU (Post 5136325)
Hi there,



cool, wow! Did you raid a museum? ;-)
Using what browser?

Actually I bought it on ebay. And with the purchase price, shipping and upgrades
I spend more than I care to say. But since the first computer that my parents bought me was a 486 was back in the early
2000s, I have a soft spot for these things.
Browser is Opera 3.60. It renders decently, but gives a lot of "Invalid Certificate" errors and sometimes
only renders part of the page requiring a refresh. Not that hard to crash either.

Quote:

Oh, I suppose that answers my question above.
I find that post very interesting because I still have a small single-board PC here, a 486/133 with 32MB RAM. I'm very eager to put it to some use again and I was searching for a suitable Linux distro or components. I played a bit with Tiny Core, but it wouldn't even boot on that biscuit PC. My next Idea was to put together syslinux, a minimalistic 2.6 kernel and a busybox for starters and see what that combo can do (but I haven't yet got around to actually trying). After all, that little board has four TTY ports and might act as some kind of "intelligent multiple TTY unit".
Anyway, I don't intend to run a desktop or a GUI of any kind on this biscuit, just the kernel and very few services.
Well the "distro" I run on it was completely built from source because prebuilt distros
were just not really cutting it. I can provide builds of the kernel, initrd, configuration files,
tips or anything like that if you want. Most things will run ok, but the RAM is going to be your limiting factor.

My 486 machine happend to have an Eithernet card which is really nice because that way
it can go on the network very easily. It transfers data at 100-150KB/s so it is tolerable even with
file downloads unlike SLIP
[X] Doc CPU[/QUOTE]

sundialsvcs 03-17-2014 09:54 PM

Heh ... I still am using such a system (in packet-radio amateur service) running Gentoo Linux.

When running Windows 3.11, the machine ... well, felt "old." But when all the "cruft" was stripped away, this machine was ... (is!!) ... downright fast! :D

TenTenths 03-18-2014 06:20 AM

24Mb of RAM??? Luxury :)

I'm tempted to resurrect some of my old gear now. I still have DOS 6 / Windows 3.11 on a VM and I spin it up every now and then for a history lesson :)

smeezekitty 03-18-2014 02:57 PM

Quote:

Heh ... I still am using such a system (in packet-radio amateur service) running Gentoo Linux.

When running Windows 3.11, the machine ... well, felt "old." But when all the "cruft" was stripped away, this machine was ... (is!!) ... downright fast!
Modern operating systems are just plain wasteful.
The biggest limiting factor at this point is probably the 504 MB hard drive limitation in the BIOS.

Quote:

24Mb of RAM??? Luxury
I upgraded it from 8MB which was too easily depleted
Quote:

I'm tempted to resurrect some of my old gear now. I still have DOS 6 / Windows 3.11 on a VM and I spin it up every now and then for a history lesson
A VM just isn't the same

mostlyharmless 03-18-2014 04:00 PM

Heh heh, you're probably safe from malware too, because Win 3.11 is too old to run them! I don't have my 386 any more, but still fire up DOS/Win 3.1 in a VM every now and then, but I haven't tried to run IE whatever it was back then.

TenTenths 03-18-2014 04:15 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by smeezekitty (Post 5136916)
A VM just isn't the same

Totally agree, which is why I'm getting more and more motivated to dig some of the stuff out the attic piles. Although I think the 486 systems were disposed off in one of the "great purges", I know I've Pentium II and Pentium III gear around though.

nigelc 03-19-2014 04:04 AM

The old redhaT 5.2 would run on it. It's in the archives.

smeezekitty 03-20-2014 06:42 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by nigelc (Post 5137215)
The old redhaT 5.2 would run on it. It's in the archives.

It probably would. The difficult part is no internal cdrom

enorbet 03-21-2014 06:50 AM

If you would like both a challenge (mostly in finding a copy) and a huge wake up call at just how badly Microsoft has sabotaged the progress of computing, get and install IBM's OS/2. Version 2.1 is written almost entirely in Assembly with the 386 in mind and is therefore extremely efficient and scaleable. It will run unbelievably snappy on that box, plus it has vastly superior

1) File System - HPFS (essentially NTFS as MS stole it)
2) CPU scheduling
3) Memory management - direct addressing, not EMS
4) Pre-emptive process management
5) TCP/IP stack

It also handles larger file sizes and smaller segments and is fully Posix compatible.

Even better would be Warp 3 for it's addition of greater hardware support and more usable modern applications, along with a Desktop arguably better than Win95 but still capable of screaming on a 486 with 24MB ram. At last look, one can still download Maintenance (Service Packs on steroids) and iirc there were 30 or so of those for Warp 3, and around 20 for 2.1, although the originals are exceptional all by themselves.

TenTenths 03-21-2014 07:25 AM

I remember having to write code for OS/2 Warp. You could write in "MS" C and then the MS C compiler could compile for each platform separately.

Doc CPU 03-21-2014 11:54 AM

Hi there,

Quote:

Originally Posted by enorbet (Post 5138612)
If you would like both a challenge (mostly in finding a copy) and a huge wake up call at just how badly Microsoft has sabotaged the progress of computing, get and install IBM's OS/2. Version 2.1 is written almost entirely in Assembly with the 386 in mind and is therefore extremely efficient and scaleable. It will run unbelievably snappy on that box [...]

that doesn't match my recollection. Back in the early to mid-90's, I actually purchased OS/2 2.1 and used it for a while. It worked, alright, but it was unbearably slow and heavy-footed on the good old 386 (with 4MB RAM, IIRC) I used at that time. The desktop (called PM, short for Presentation Manager) was a pain in the ass, and the system rarely worked more than two hours without a serious crash.
Snappiness and reliability up to a point is what I had when I reverted to my illegal copy of Windows 3.1 and decided to leave the OS/2 floppies on the shelf just as an alibi.

Quote:

Originally Posted by enorbet (Post 5138612)
plus it has vastly superior

1) File System - HPFS (essentially NTFS as MS stole it)
2) CPU scheduling
3) Memory management - direct addressing, not EMS
4) Pre-emptive process management
5) TCP/IP stack

Just to be fair: Okay, Windows 3.x didn't have an efficient file system of its own, just FAT16 inherited from DOS. It neither had true preemptive multitasking among Windows applications (that was first introduced in Windows 4.x), but it did have its own memory management with direct adressing of up to 16MB, though still limited to 16bit offset addresses (64kB per segment). And of course it didn't have a TCP/IP protocol stack - what for at that time? Networking was only just entering the scope of private and small office use, the most popular protocol being Novell's IPX/SPX, obsoleted by Microsoft's NetBIOS a bit later.

And please don't forget that OS/2 was initially a joint development of Microsoft and IBM, only the Microsoft guys were smart enough to drop out of the project early enough and let IBM handle the debris, when they became aware that it was leading into a dead end. However, this ancestry is the reason for Windows having an OS/2 compatibility layer all the time, at least until Windows 5. I'm not sure if they dropped it in the meantime.

[X] Doc CPU

enorbet 03-21-2014 01:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Doc CPU (Post 5138750)
Hi there,
that doesn't match my recollection. Back in the early to mid-90's, I actually purchased OS/2 2.1 and used it for a while. It worked, alright, but it was unbearably slow and heavy-footed on the good old 386 (with 4MB RAM, IIRC) I used at that time. The desktop (called PM, short for Presentation Manager) was a pain in the ass, and the system rarely worked more than two hours without a serious crash.
Snappiness and reliability up to a point is what I had when I reverted to my illegal copy of Windows 3.1 and decided to leave the OS/2 floppies on the shelf just as an alibi.

Wow! That is totally amazing and mysterious. I actually bought it too and I actually admin'd a small business with just shy of 50 workstations running 2.1 and there was not one single unscheduled reboot in over 2 years.

I'll talk about speed in a minute but right now I am absolutely flabberghasted at the idea that OS/2 was anything short of a Rock of Gibraltar. One of the main reasons Microsoft bailed was because IBM refused to allow exceptions for certain programs to have direct access to hardware. MS-OS2 3.0 NT became MS Windows NT with such access (and a trumped up story about a former DEC employee being responsible for NTFS) and the BSOD was born. IBM could not allow such silliness since OS/2 was in use not only in Enterprise, including Banking, where downtime can cost many millions of dollars, but also in Hospitals and Air Traffic Control where crashes and Blue Screens of Death become literal!!

So I don't know how you managed to mess that up but I assure you, you did, even if only by having poor hardware. OS/2 2.1 was my first gui, excepting DOS shells, and I paid for Warp 3, Warp 4, and Warp Server for e-Business and tossed and turned over eComStation. I have spent thousands of hours in it and never witnessed anything like you recollect. I was a part of TeamOS2 and frequented clubs, forums, BBS's and IRC channels and never heard anything remotely like this - just the opposite (excepting the huge amount of FUD Microsoft shoveled out).

Regarding speed - OS/2 was designed originally when there were 4 levels of computers - Mainframes, Midis, Minis, and PCs - and IBM wanted an OpSys capable of running on all of them. As one might imagine coming from IBM it was extremely conservative and many complained about how strict it was, refusing to install on some kinds of ram and some CPU's caching. Often one had to turn off L2 caching to complete the install only to turn it back on again after and all worked fine. Additionally wait states and many other speed related settings in the config.sys were set extremely low in the interest of compatibility and stability. I bought the Clear & Simple suite which nicely complemented documentation with programs to test and tweak performance settings. I'm sorry yours was slow. Mine have always screamed.


Quote:

Originally Posted by Doc CPU (Post 5138750)
Just to be fair: Okay, Windows 3.x didn't have an efficient file system of its own, just FAT16 inherited from DOS. It neither had true preemptive multitasking among Windows applications (that was first introduced in Windows 4.x), but it did have its own memory management with direct adressing of up to 16MB, though still limited to 16bit offset addresses (64kB per segment). And of course it didn't have a TCP/IP protocol stack - what for at that time? Networking was only just entering the scope of private and small office use, the most popular protocol being Novell's IPX/SPX, obsoleted by Microsoft's NetBIOS a bit later.

And please don't forget that OS/2 was initially a joint development of Microsoft and IBM, only the Microsoft guys were smart enough to drop out of the project early enough and let IBM handle the debris, when they became aware that it was leading into a dead end. However, this ancestry is the reason for Windows having an OS/2 compatibility layer all the time, at least until Windows 5. I'm not sure if they dropped it in the meantime.
[X] Doc CPU

I will grant you that Microsoft had vision that SOHO desktops were likely a huge and untapped market, a vision that IBM neither saw nor cared about, but to say that Microsoft saw a dead end is ludicrous. This vision, plus the fact as someone so aptly put it, that if IBM bought out a sushi business they would market it as "raw, dead fish", and also lack of unity within IBM (partly since a sizable portion of revenue became servicing NT machines) because a second time they got hornswoggled by Billy and the Boys. The embarrassment was felt amongst a lot of management types who didn't listen nor care that OS/2 was technically superior if it couldn't beat out Microsoft.

To be fair, Microsoft did manage one truly great influence on the direction of OS/2. Version 1 was all about the 286 because at the time 386's were so expensive IBM assumed they would never reach enough numbers to bring that cost down. As I said, IBM couldn't fathom the burgeoning PC market as MS did. So one of the reasons v2 was so great was embracing the 386 with all 3 modes - real, protected, and virtual. Thank you Microsoft..... but.....

Compatibility layer? Win95 and Win98 installers were designed and built with the specific means to detect HPFS and issue dire but vague warnings that "the install may fail" and then kindly offered to delete "the problem". The only "compatibility" there has been on the MS side is to this day many systems will mistakenly identify NTFS as HPFS because they changed so little, despite the ridiculous cover story.

You may dismiss all the above as the rantings of a crazed fanboy but that won't explain why IBM agreed to extend support an additional 5 years on top of the original 5 on Warp4 and it's derivatives because of all the furor raised by Mission Critical clients who had nowhere else to go for such reliability. Official IBM support did not end until 2006. Then eComStation took over.

Incidentally, FWIW, if you doubt Win95 and Win98 were inferior in so many ways, I should add that I have OS/2 Warp 4 running on this Azrock A77 Extreme with a 4-core i5-3550 and 8 Gigs of ram. They cannot be forced to even install under any circumstances and Warp screams since even v2.1 was designed to handle SCSI devices and multiple CPUs/Cores and 8 Gigs of ram (later, 64 Gigs of ram). Win 95 and Win 98 won't run even on a 32bit CPU with in excess of 1Gig of ram.

So my recommendation still stands and if OP is successful (and it won't be easy) he can post back and say whether he finds it faster, slower or more or less reliable. If you do though, PLEASE do not use Fat16. Use HPFS.

dugan 03-21-2014 08:14 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by enorbet (Post 5138612)
Even better would be Warp 3 for it's addition of greater hardware support and more usable modern applications, along with a Desktop arguably better than Win95 but still capable of screaming on a 486 with 24MB ram.

The problem was that the average 486 had 4 to 8 MB RAM.


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