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Old 01-29-2008, 07:55 PM   #1
Registered: Sep 2004
Distribution: FC, ubuntu, OpenSuse
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the right kernel and install procedure for a 486

Hi all,

I am trying to bootstrap ubuntu onto a soekris net4521 (a 486 architecture). The process is described in detail here, except for a different piece of hardware, the net4801( a pentium architecture).

I have followed the instructions to a T, except that I am using gutsy rather than fiesty. Of course when things didn't work out I have tried a variations to figure the problme, but not much success.

I have some issues when it comes to the kernel. When I boot LILO(it's old and crufty but I am more confident in setting it up) loads up and then I see a bunch of hex bytes print across the screen. I assume that this is because I have the installed the wrong kernel or have installed the right kernel incorrectly. I am completely new to this aspect so any advise is appreciated.
Old 01-29-2008, 08:11 PM   #2
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Registered: Nov 2004
Location: Saint Amant, Acadiana
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There are compiler options you cannot ignore. Kernel and binaries built for i686 do not run on i586 and lower, you have i486 which means distro built even for i586 won't run. Before you decide what distro to use make sure they have i486 or i386 (often referred as x86) version.
Old 01-30-2008, 08:19 AM   #3
Registered: Sep 2004
Distribution: FC, ubuntu, OpenSuse
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Originally Posted by Emerson View Post
Before you decide what distro to use make sure they have i486 or i386 (often referred as x86) version.
I want to use ubuntu. I have attempted to use the generic kernel(as suggested in the above guide), the 386 kernel, and the ume kernel with no success. What I am not sure is how to find the problem. all I get is a hex dump...

I tried as suggested linux-image-X packages but another blog says that one should use linux-X packages. It didn't seem to make a difference.

does this make a difference? Is there a way to figure out the compile options used to build the kernels contained in these packages?
Old 01-30-2008, 12:18 PM   #4
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The i386 label is used a little too generically. Fedora for example tends to call their 32bit version i386 but in reality the oldest cpu they support is i586. I suspect that it is the same for ubuntu. ( would indicate that the slowest processor speed required is 300mhz. I do not know of a 300mhz 486. Most of the "main line" distros are going to be the same. You try dam small linux (DSL). Another option would be to search google for 486 linux.


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