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    SubjectRe: support for '386s be disabled (was: 2.1.42)
    On Fri, 6 Jun 1997, Joe Julian wrote:

    > Richard B. Johnson wrote:
    > >
    > > I just replaced the root file-system, utilities, and kernel in an old
    > > '386SX (16MHz). Compiled with math emulation, etc.
    > >
    > > . . .
    > >
    > > The machine will hang. No interrupt activity whatsoever. Looking at
    > > IRQ0 (timer-tick) on the bus shows it permanently high. Perhaps these
    > > old machines can't use level-triggered interrupts. It worked with
    > > an old version of Linux for several years. It still worked before I
    > > installed 2.1.42. The old version was 0.99 (Yaggdrasl). Now I am
    > > gonna be in trouble with the owner (an executive).
    > >
    > > I will probably have to give him a "new" motherboard with a '486-DX/66
    > > to get him off my back (I have a old spare).
    > >
    > > I would suggest that support for '386s be disabled sometime soon,
    > What I don't understand about this whole thread is why someone would
    > blindly assume that a development kernel would work on anything
    > without testing it first, especially to the exclusion of being able
    > to go backwards.

    The kernel installation process is something that __I__ do, not something
    that gets done by magic. As I mentioned, I made a new system disk with
    all new ELF binaries, etc. The present kernel, and its bug-fixes has
    been in use here on over 20 machines.

    > kernel so you can have it boot if the new one doesn't work, and if
    > you lost that possibility, you could boot off the Yaggdrasl boot disk
    > and re-install the old working kernel to salvage your mistakes rather
    > than giving hardware away.

    These are not my __MISTAKES__. The 0.99 kernel does not even like the
    present version of the ext2 file-system. It is not supposed to be. There
    have been many improvements over the past 6 years.

    > I also think that you can't find any
    > professional who wouldn't suggest doing a complete backup before any
    > major changes to any system.

    Not only was all the user's stuff backed up to a SCSI tape, but I also
    have his original root file-system disk, i.e., a 330B slow-speed
    Seagate. The backup was done first because I know that the old SCSI
    disk has a different sector translation scheme than the new one so
    I would not be able to retreive the old stuff except from tape.

    I can always hand this VP back is favorite machine, saying; "I can't
    make it be able to play the ELF binaries you get off the Internet".
    I can also try to make the latest working stuff work on his machine.
    Or, I can secretly replace his motherboard -- but his RS-232C lights
    won't flicker on the front panel so he'll know I cheated. This
    is an AST 386SX/16 that his son have him just before his son was
    killed. You don't just throw these things away.

    The whole idea was to use a complete __WORKING__ system disk with all
    the latest tools, with all the latest networking improvements, and
    all the latest X-Windows "User stuff", on the old machine. To assure
    compatibility, the old hard-disk controller, and the old network card
    were used and tested, complete --everything on a more modern motherboard.

    The newer kernels simply do not work properly with a '386SX/16.. And
    the old 0.99 kernel will not work with the new ELF binaries and the
    improvements made in the file-systems (of course).

    I would like to get the code to work on the old junker, in fact if
    I leave out the Ethernet card (so it doesn't get pranged with a
    lot of interrupts), change only the cascade interrupt to a specific
    EIO in the kernel, I can keep the machine up long enough to rebuild the
    kernel (six and a half hours!!!). However, If I were to make any
    typing mistake so the "bell" rings, the machine halts.

    Richard B. Johnson
    Analogic Corporation
    Email :,
    Penguin : Linux version 2.1.42 on an i586 machine (66.15 BogoMips).
    Warning : It's hard to stay on the trailing edge of technology.

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