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Good-Bye 386: Linux to drop support for i386 chips with next major release


To every thing there is a season, and a time for every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die and a time for Linux to discontinue support for Intel’s 27-years old, 32-bit 386 CPU in its next major release of the Linux kernel: 3.8.

Ingo Molnár, a Red Hat engineer and Linux kernel developer, asked Linus Torvalds, Linux’s founder on December 11th to “consider pulling the latest x86-nuke386-for-linus git tree. For those of us who haven’t been Linux kernel enthusiasts since day one, Molnár explained, “This tree removes ancient-386-CPUs support and thus zaps quite a bit of complexity.” He continued, “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.”

Indeed, back in 1991, Torvalds sent out a Usenet posting saying, “I’m doing a (free) operating system. (just a hobby, won’t be big and professional like gnu [Gnu] was, and is, the free software collection of programs originated by Richard M. Stallman) for 386(486) AT clones.” From that modest beginning Linux began.

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Torvalds responded the next day, December 12th. I’m not sentimental. Good riddance.

Good-Bye 386: Linux to drop support for i386 chips with next major release. More >

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