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Old 02-17-2011, 10:55 PM   #1
3dBdown
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Distribution: Originally: Slackware 3.1; Now Slackware 13.37
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Perhaps I need a bit of Linux ideological indoctrination.


[SOLVED]
I had my first computer in '82, an AT/286. Since then, including the wife's Dell, five more. I still have them all, and except for the printers and a funky battery charging system on my first laptop, they all still function - an important aspect to my question here....but I'll digress:

The linux concept struck me as an excellent derivative to the unix world I experienced as a "Chip-Head" (girls in bars used that label to be derisive), working in Si-Valley some days ago.

But there has always been a market-driven component to the process: New hardware enables new capability in software and new software has driven the need for the latest hardware to keep up...

Perhaps you remember when Uncle Billy G. finally said "We're not going to support Win3.1 apps any longer..." Kind of a watershed point in time, and the pace has just seemed to accelerate.

Back in 96 when I installed linux 2.0.0, I figured the linux world naturally had to be the same. But as I revisit it now, is it?

Does the latest slackware really embrace my early-vintage pentium as much as it seems to?

I realize that even for Slackware, the i386 CPUs have been thrown under the bus (no pun intended), but let's face it - few probably still run. If they do, it's like having a Ford with 350,000 miles, you don't drive it on the street anymore, one accident would ruin your museum piece.

It seems that the older a piece of hardware is, the more likely it has collected a driver to help keep it alive.

So what is the underlying philosophy of linux, it's progenators, and it's adherents?

And, how might that affect my time allocation towards trying to install the latest release? Is the a pursuit of folly? Shouldn't I buy an new box to satisfy the marketplce?

Granted the chase is imbued with edification derived from spending time in the effort - but so does writing poetry, and I really just want a box that runs on my DSL line, not to be R.W.E. (That and beer, free beer.)

Unfortunately telephony and file sizes wait for no slacker, and 2.0.0 doesn't support it, and you wouldn't want to downloading the latest Yahoo Finance page at 9600 baud.

But that I accept, because that capability didn't exist back then (at least for us at the street-level). And yet it seem the linux world wants us to be empowered, and with old hardware if we like. It seem to be quite dichotomous.

Is this dream real?

-3dB

PS: the website won't let me generate my own "tags" but I can do it here:
Old Guys, Old Hardware, Bad Marketing Plans

Last edited by 3dBdown; 10-30-2011 at 10:35 PM. Reason: "Solved" status change
 
Old 02-17-2011, 11:53 PM   #2
Tinkster
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Moved: This thread is more suitable in <GENERAL and/or INTROS> and has been moved accordingly to help your thread/question get the exposure it deserves.
 
Old 02-18-2011, 01:26 AM   #3
rokytnji
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Quote:
the i386 CPUs have been thrown under the bus (no pun intended), but let's face it - few probably still run.
Nope. I run Debian, AntiX, and Puppy, on i386 quite comfortably and run latest applications and kernels. Wheezy runs quite well as well as Liqourix kernels.

Quote:
Is this dream real?
Don't know about you. Just a Biker. Not IT Tech. quote "street level user" right now posting on i386 running

Code:
# cat /etc/issue
MyWolfe Linux
Linux 2.6.34.1
in Opera 11.1

Code:
# java -version
java version "1.6.0_24"
Java(TM) SE Runtime Environment (build 1.6.0_24-b07)
Java HotSpot(TM) Client VM (build 19.1-b02, mixed mode, sharing)
with latest flash also. Ignorance is bliss is my case though because I never over think things. Gitter Done.
 
Old 02-18-2011, 01:18 PM   #4
3dBdown
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Two comments:

For the moderator:

I bow to your authority, but I though it was apropos because I'm trying to figure out if my old hardware is going to run 13.1 suitably.
I'd like the new features but software upgrades usually mean new hardware in every other realm.

This seems a newbie question, no?

(sub-note: Many forum member seem to perform these evaluations by trial, but franly I'm not smart enough to be able to evaluate the HW/SW combinations rigorously. And that process seems like a toilet-load-full off work. I don't want this to become a hobby - the wife needs the house painted, and I already have too many distractions to be able to focus that long, hence the rfc about my "impressions".)

For my other two responders:
Perhaps I wasn't clear about the i386 support, and I certainly didn't mean to be deprecating.

I was writing only about Slackware & the info I've seen on http://distrowatch.com/table.php?distribution=slackware

If I've read this table correctly, Slackware 9.0 (linux 2.4.20) was the last of the i386 support. Slackware 9.1 (linux 2.4.22) isn't marked for the i386. And I though that means the bar was raised to the i486 hardware minimum.
I have to admit I haven't poured though all the release notes, but they only go back so far in html. I think the ftps probably include it, but I'm not sure.

If your i386 machines are as old as I assume, your chips could be reaching MTBF by silicon wearout. Insulators on remain intact for so long and aluminium traces eventually electro-migrate.

-3dB

Did I get that wrong?
 
Old 02-18-2011, 01:19 PM   #5
3dBdown
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and franly not smart enuf to spiel, too
 
Old 02-18-2011, 04:26 PM   #6
Tinkster
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 3dBdown View Post
Two comments:

For the moderator:

I bow to your authority, but I though it was apropos because I'm trying to figure out if my old hardware is going to run 13.1 suitably.
I'd like the new features but software upgrades usually mean new hardware in every other realm.

This seems a newbie question, no?
Sorry,

I fail to see the question you just posed in the post I moved.
It seems to be mostly about "Linux philosophy" in general, and
an explanation of your computer history - so the move seems
perfectly adequate.


As for the old computer: latest slack requires 486 or higher;
as to "run" - that will largely depend on the amount of RAM the
box has. It may boot but only crawl if you have e.g. 16MB. More
detail (maybe in a separate thread, w/ less philosophy thrown
in?) about hardware would be appreciated. Makes it easier to
focus w/ just ONE task at a time.



Cheers,
Tink
 
Old 02-18-2011, 07:12 PM   #7
TobiSGD
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rokytnji View Post
Nope. I run Debian, AntiX, and Puppy, on i386 quite comfortably and run latest applications and kernels. Wheezy runs quite well as well as Liqourix kernels.
Nope, you don't. No recent kernel will run on i386, the kernels are named with an i386 extension for historical reasons, but they won't run on such a machine. You need at least a i486 for that, and many distributions nowadays are compiled so that you need a processor of the i686-class (Pentium Pro, AMD Athlon, or later).
 
Old 02-19-2011, 11:15 PM   #8
3dBdown
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Thanks all for your response, I'm gleaned much.
-3dB
 
Old 02-27-2011, 03:04 AM   #9
3dBdown
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The story marches forward. The short answer is NO! Time, tide and software development wait for no one, or old hardware.

It doesn't work to try to put the latest Slackware (12.0 and later) on an old machine. Something in between, perhaps - but I haven't proved that yet.

Sometime between Slacware 3.1 & 11.0, the installation datasets (pre-packaged-packages like a, ap, n, l, x xap ...) were no longer packaged to fit on floppies. Meaning you had to have a CDROM to read them from a distribution CD. It didn't necessarily have to be bootable, but that would just make things easier - and where's the fun in that?

I haven't mapped the exact point when the compressed file sizes went over the 1.4MB threshold, but mostly because most of the distribution sites no longer keep the real old stuff around.

I guess you could still bust up the files from later release packages and roll your own floppy-only environment install, but only with a gruntload of work. Somewhere you'd be bound to shoot yourself in the foot. But even with an old/cheap CDROM you can still get there... up thru about 11.x

Seems that 11.0 still has (two) install files small enough to fit on a two_sequential_floppy set. So its 3 floppies total: one "boot" and two "root" disks that have the install act on them, then read the rest from the CDROM. The documentation states that the process is rife with places to land on a mine and blow up. But it is still possible, so I'm going to do it for my next build-exercise.

But after 11.x,, forget it, the install/config programs are way too big, so you have to have a bootable cdrom.
Also the kernels and all the rest have gotten huge, so bigger hard-drives and more memory. multi-cores help too.

My old pc with a single i586 processor, 90Meg Ram and 0.5 GB disk holds most of the system in the Slack 3.1 distro, and the whole distro using the 2G disk. But methinks you'd end up with a pretty crummy boat anchor, with what you could load on a 2G disk from rel 13.1

When I get past the 11.0 exercise, I'll go buy some new hardware to move onward and upward.
And I'll probably have plenty of time then too - after the divorce action is final, that is.
 
Old 05-13-2011, 04:12 PM   #10
fosberry
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Surely the strength of Linux is its breadth. There are distros which will run decently on an ancient PC with sub-gigabyte RAM; and there are distros which will turbocharge the most modern systems, leaving Windows 7 behind in the dust. But you can't expect both in one package.

--- Derek
 
Old 05-13-2011, 11:10 PM   #11
TobiSGD
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fosberry View Post
Surely the strength of Linux is its breadth. There are distros which will run decently on an ancient PC with sub-gigabyte RAM; and there are distros which will turbocharge the most modern systems, leaving Windows 7 behind in the dust. But you can't expect both in one package.

--- Derek
I can. I am running Slackware which will both run on "ancient" (I wouldn't consider sub-gigabyte RAM ancient) machines with decent (if not simply fast) performance, but it runs also very good on my 64 bit workstation with 8 GB RAM and six cores.

And it was the same with my last favorite distro, Debian. All in one. Linux.
 
Old 10-30-2011, 10:30 PM   #12
3dBdown
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Once again I thank you all for your input. It's clear that there is a great deal more lattitude in the spectrum of hardware/linux OS compatibility than ever has existed in the MS (Windows) world.

Ultimately for me, the hard core stumbling block for me was the ability to access new media (dvds distros or even CD-R) and with 1995 motherboards, its difficult to bios that will support them or even USB (it did exist, just not for my clone).

So I have bit the #300 bullit and bought an new box....but if you look at my new forum threads, you'll see that the saga just continues.
ITS ALL EDUCATIONAL, REGARDLESS

Thanks again
Don

PS
Again I appologise to Tinkster, for being kind of a DumbA__

Last edited by 3dBdown; 10-30-2011 at 10:32 PM. Reason: ps
 
  


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