Linux 3.8 will drop support for Intel 386 chips

Released on Monday, meanwhile, version 3.7 steps up the kernel's ARM support.

By Katherine Noyes, PC World |  Operating Systems, Linux, Linux kernel

Launched back in 1985, the venerable i386 processor has served countless PC users around the globe long and well, but recently the developers of the Linux kernel decided to drop support for it.

This tree removes ancient-386-CPUs support and thus zaps quite a bit of complexity, wrote  developer Ingo Molnar when submitting the change on Tuesday.

That complexity has meant extra work for kernel developers for years, Molnar pointed out.

'Good riddance'

While removing 386 support will make life easier, it also means that starting with Linux 3.8, very old hardware will no longer be able to run modern versions of Linux.

Unfortunately there's a nostalgic cost: your old original 386 DX33 system from early 1991 won't be able to boot modern Linux kernels anymore. Sniff, Molnar added.

Linux in general and lightweight distributions such as Puppy Linux and Damn Small Linux in particular have long offered a way to keep older hardware up and running productively for years.

Linux creator Linus Torvalds, however, was unconcerned: I'm not sentimental, he wrote on Wednesday in response. Good riddance.

Production of the i386 ended in September 2007, by which time it was already obsolete for use in PCs. It had still been used in embedded systems, however, and in phones including the BlackBerry 950 and Nokia 9000 Communicator.

Linux 3.7 debuts

On Monday, meanwhile, Torvalds released Linux 3.7.


Originally published on PC World |  Click here to read the original story.
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