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PBPBPB 12-05-2010 09:08 AM

Old PC's processor doesn't have cmov and can't install Xubuntu
I am trying to install Linux on a 12-year-old PC with an AMD Pentium II equivalent and with 128Mb RAM.

Xubuntu 10.04 won't install because the kernel requires "cmov" but the PC's processor doesn't have it. There are loads of posts on the Internet about this but I have not found any listings of Linux distros that don't need cmov other than TinyMe, which I shall try installing.

There is no hope of my being able to use the command line to replace the kernel version or for any such fix - I am just too new to it all.

Please, does anyone know of a nice-looking distro that should install that doesn't look too old and that has a good set of features?

Peter B

rokytnji 12-05-2010 09:43 AM


Please, does anyone know of a nice-looking distro that should install that doesn't look too old and that has a good set of features?
AntiX installed and ran OK for me when I had a IBM 390E with 128MB of ram. Slitaz cooking version ran OK on it also. Another maybe worth checking out is Classic Pup 2.14X -- Updated 2 series

TobiSGD 12-05-2010 09:47 AM

You can use any distro that supports i486 or i586-processors. I suppose with AMD Pentium II equivalent you mean the K6-II or K6-III. Both are not i686-compliant.
You can go with with any Linux on these lists: i486 i586

But be aware that with your amount of RAM none of the big DEs, like Gnome or KDE will run. I would go for a distro with LXDE or a Window Manager, like one of the *boxes or IceWM.

rokytnji 12-05-2010 09:54 AM

In case you need i486 AntiX. The Link is in one of my Blog Posts.

bastl 12-05-2010 10:03 AM

That depends on the compiler the system is compiled with.
If you compile all with a compiler that don`t uses this instruction than there should be no problems.
With a Pentium (IA686) it should work well. It could be more the Hardware arround that makes trouble.
The newest kernel can be compiled for ia486 and above but many other (secundary) software needs the extensions of the new processors 3dnowext, mmxext, cmov, .... .
So only install software that don't needs this instructions.
Best is to take an old distribution version - I think versions 6 to 8 should work.
SUSE-8.x is the most comfortable distro that time.

PBPBPB 12-06-2010 12:27 PM

Thank you so much, everyone, for your help, I now have enough to go on. My architecture is i586 and from the suggestions above I am looking for compatible distros that will install; Xubuntu 6 installed but I am just seeing if Xubuntu 8 will install.



TobiSGD 12-06-2010 01:36 PM

I strongly recommend you to not use older versions of Linux. They don't have support anymore and will get no security fixes. Please do yourself a favor and choose a new version from the advices given here.

DavidMcCann 12-08-2010 06:26 PM

It's a pity that the Distrowatch search facility doesn't cover hardware requirements!

Most things won't run on anything earlier than the Pentium Pro, but anything should run on a P II. For 128MB, you have a choice of Puppy, Vector Light, Slackware, and Tiny Core (in order of decreasing ease of installation). Puppy's chief developer has actually stated that he's run it on a P II machine with 128MB.

TobiSGD 12-08-2010 08:15 PM


Originally Posted by bastl (Post 4181290)
With a Pentium (IA686) it should work well.

The Pentium is i586, not i686.

@PBPBPB: I think the best for you is to try Slackware, here are many Slackers at the forum that can help you, if you run into problems.

PBPBPB 12-09-2010 11:17 AM

Thank you all, much appreciated. I have Xubuntu 6 installed OK but I take the point about there being no more security updates for it. I shall try Slackware and some of your other recommendations in VirtualBox on my XP PC to see what they are like, and then replace Xubuntu 6 on my old PC. (Should you be wondering how a newbie knows about VirtualBox, I have just done the ten-week Open University T155 Intro to Linux course which steps one through use of VirtualBox - it's a fabulous tool!).

I have so far replaced any failed, partial installs on the old PC using Partition Magic 8 on floppies to delete and recreate the partitions (blunt but apparently effective); can anyone suggest a better way?



rich_c 12-09-2010 04:01 PM

Hey Peter!

As far as partitioning is concerned, I'd suggest the Gparted live CD.

For lightweight distros, I'd second recommendations to give antiX a go!

PBPBPB 12-11-2010 10:16 AM

Which slackware .iso file should I download?
Oh, dear, this is confusing...

Downloading the antiX .iso to try out in VirtualBox was straightforward, but at this page,, I have no foggiest idea which .iso file to download for a CD writer (not for a DVD writer) to produce a CD (on my XP box) for my old PC (AMD K6-2 with 128Mb RAM). (What is the difference between d1, d2 and d3 etc and between install and source?)

Could someone please tell me which .iso file I need?



mryuck 12-11-2010 02:30 PM

For 13.1 you will need install d1,and d2.
d3 contains kde. If you dont want kde(I wouldn't with your specs) you dont need d3.

As far as I know, old versions of slackware are still supported. There are security patches all the way back to version 9.

I still have slackware 10 on a pentium2 233mhz with 64mb ram using XFCE desktop.

allend 12-11-2010 06:27 PM

You could run the latest stable Slackware 13.1 using the non-SMP kernels (huge.s in the installer, kernel-generic- with an initrd post install) on that box. I suppose any other distro that supplies a non-SMP kernel would also work.

PBPBPB 12-12-2010 11:42 AM

I'm very sorry, mryuck and allend, I'm just too new to Linux to understand the above two posts, but thank you most sincerely for your responses.

So I have installed antiX (from antiX-M8.5-base-486.iso - it took ages!), apparently successfully. It seems slower than Xubuntu 6 was, especially the browser, and it doesn't look as modern, but the system monitor at screen-top-left shows spare RAM and not too much cpu demand; I'll run it for a while and may well stick with it.

Thanks to your warnings (not to run old, unsupported releases) I now have a current system that I can keep updated, and my old PC, unused for nigh on ten years, is usable again; it even has a working B: drive!

Next I will try and network it with the various Windows XP boxes in the household...



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