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GNU/Linux Running On An 8-Bit Processor

Unknown Lamer posted more than 2 years ago | from the some-people-have-lots-of-free-time dept.

Hardware Hacking 361

dartttt writes, quoting Ubuntu Vibe: "Dmitry Grinberg has successfully booted Ubuntu 9.04 on an 8 bit micro machine with 6.5 KHz CPU and 16 MB RAM. Grinberg did this experiment on a ATmega1284p, 8-bit RISC microcontroller clocked at 24MHz and equipped with 16KB of SRAM and 128KB of flash storage. Since the RAM was too low, he added 30-pin 16MB SIMM to the machine and a 1 GB SD card to host Ubuntu image. ... To get the world's slowest Linux Computer running, he had to write an ARMv5 emulator which supports a 32bit processor and MMU. A similar machine can be made very easily and everything should come in about $20." There is source code available, but it's under a non-commercial use only license. Just how slow is it? "It takes about 2 hours to boot to bash prompt ('init=/bin/bash' kernel command line). Then 4 more hours to boot up the entire Ubuntu ('exec init' and then login). Starting X takes a lot longer. The effective emulated CPU speed is about 6.5KHz, which is on par with what you'd expect emulating a 32-bit CPU & MMU on a measly 8-bit micro. Curiously enough, once booted, the system is somewhat usable. You can type a command and get a reply within a minute." If you like watching a whole lot of nothing, there's a video of the boot process below the fold.

cancel ×

361 comments

Ultimate tech hipsters (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39552613)

We booted an OS nobody uses on hardware nobody uses. WE ARE SO COOL!

Re:Ultimate tech hipsters (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39552663)

You mean, you bought the latest nokia?

Reminder: this is /. , all people will want to know is: but does it run linux. Since your nokia apparently is unable to do so, this article proves the 8-bit processor superior.

Have a nice day.

Re:Ultimate tech hipsters (1)

BanHammor (2587175) | more than 2 years ago | (#39552665)

I think that would be Haiku on Sega Saturn, but that would be way easier.

Re:Ultimate tech hipsters (4, Insightful)

wagnerrp (1305589) | more than 2 years ago | (#39552885)

That's simply not true. Those little 8-bit microcontrollers are used all over the place. You probably have several in your desktop, some in your monitor, more in your TV, a whole bunch in your car. You just never see anyone trying to run one as the primary CPU on an interactive computer these days.

Re:Ultimate tech hipsters (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39552909)

We booted an OS nobody uses on hardware nobody uses. WE ARE SO COOL!

Not only that, but we are going to measure how slow it is, in ALTITUDE! Now that is cool.

Why? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39552637)

Why?

Re:Why? (1)

MasterMan (2603851) | more than 2 years ago | (#39552673)

Exactly. And it's kind of telling that Linux takes two hours just to start on 8-bit processor. Old Windows 3.1 still work good on those and doesn't take nearly the same amount of time. In fact it's quite fast.

Re:Why? (2)

ericloewe (2129490) | more than 2 years ago | (#39552721)

Windows (any version) doesn't run natively on any 8-bit processor. Windows 3.1 is sure to be extremely slow to boot when run from something like this.

Re:Why? (1)

MasterMan (2603851) | more than 2 years ago | (#39552749)

Then how did it work back in '93?

Re:Why? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39552821)

Cancel your account. You're too stupid to post.

Re:Why? (2)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | more than 2 years ago | (#39552841)

Then how did it work back in '93?

Well, since you're the one who claims it did, why not tell us yourself how a 16-bit OS runs natively on an 8-bit system?

Re:Why? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39552875)

Because back in '93 then knew the difference between the numbers 8 and 16. For example: The ATmega1284p is an 8-bit processor while the 8086 is a 16-bit processor. It is very similar to how 6.5 kHz involves a different number from 5 MHz.

Re:Why? (1, Redundant)

GNUALMAFUERTE (697061) | more than 2 years ago | (#39552919)

First of all, 3.1 Wasn't an OS, it was a GUI and some multitasking hacks to DOS.

Overall, it was a 16bit OS, and it run on 16 bit computers such as the 286. There was a hack you could add to take some advantage of 32 bit processors, such as the 386.

Re:Why? (4, Informative)

Captain Spam (66120) | more than 2 years ago | (#39552925)

You are aware that the 80386 processor (what Windows 3.1 was designed for), which was 32-bit, was first released in '85, right?

Note to a specific age group of Slashdot readers: You are aware exactly how old that fact I just presented makes us feel, right? *sigh*

Re:Why? (1)

unixisc (2429386) | more than 2 years ago | (#39553085)

That may be, but DOS was 16-bit, as was Windows 3.0 and 3.1. Until OS/2 2.0 and Windows 95, there was no particular need for a 386 - a 286 would have worked just fine. In fact, the minimum one needed was an 8086. However, for an 8-bit 8085, CP/M and CCP/M were the OSs, but DOS didn't run on that. So the right comparison would be Ubuntu 9.04 on this 8-bit ARM to CP/M on an 8085.

Incidentally, why are they running Ubuntu on this? They could have taken Minix, which was originally written for 16 bit CPUs, and tried compiling it on this one. That's the smallest Unix that would run on an 8-bit CPU. Incidentally, how many bit addressing does this CPU support - is it a mux'ed address/data architecture or something similar?

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39552941)

Windows 3.1x is a series of 16-bit operating systems

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_3.1x

With double the number of bits?

Re:Why? (1)

jhoegl (638955) | more than 2 years ago | (#39553003)

Uh oh, someone was wrong on Slashdot... and the lynch-mods got em'.

No it won't. (5, Informative)

pavon (30274) | more than 2 years ago | (#39552809)

No version of windows ever ran on an 8-bit processor. Windows 1.0-3.0 would run on an 8086, but that is still 16-bit, and Windows 3.1 won't even run on that, it needs a 286 or higher.

Re:Why? (1)

SJHillman (1966756) | more than 2 years ago | (#39552845)

You managed to run a 16 bit OS on an 8 bit processor? I'm impressed it worked that well.

Re:Why? (1)

wagnerrp (1305589) | more than 2 years ago | (#39552847)

Windows 3.1 will run on an 8-bit processor?

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39552951)

Windows 3.1 will run on an 8-bit processor?

On one level this shows just how clever Dmitry is and it shows excellent problem solving skills. However, I would be more impressed if he could do something interesting with more modern technology. The technical challenges of booting a modern OS on dinosaur hardware are amazing and if he could take his innovation ability and apply it to state of the art technology, image what he could achieve.

Re:Why? (1)

GmExtremacy (2579091) | more than 2 years ago | (#39552969)

But is there ridicule in your voice?

Re:Why? (1)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 2 years ago | (#39553147)

So? For a proper comparison you should be trying to boot Windows 2000 or newer on said 8-bit processor. Not going to work so well.

Re:Why? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39552677)

He got tired of wanking to furry porn all day?

Re:Why? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39552735)

Because i can.
Because fuck you
or because you said i cant.

Re:Why? (5, Insightful)

Penguinisto (415985) | more than 2 years ago | (#39552801)

Why not?

Seriously... the skills and knowledge can come in handy someday.

Maybe someone desperately needs to retrofit modern code to crappy old equipment? Maybe the ultra low power requirements of an extreme low-end machine makes this a fit somewhere?

Most importantly though, he did it because he could. Doing it puts his skill set far above that of most people, and having that on the resume would get him in good with nearly any semiconductor corp on the planet that needs a software or firmware developer.

Re:Why? (1)

BigFire (13822) | more than 2 years ago | (#39552907)

It would come in handy when we decided to retroactively upgrade that space probe we send out 30 years ago. Failure to upgrade the OS on that baby will result in the end of Earth as we know it. Hey, it could happen.

Re:Why? (4, Funny)

SomePgmr (2021234) | more than 2 years ago | (#39552975)

Just ignore the trolls. ;)

"Why do you want to climb Mount Everest?"

"Because it's there" ~ George Mallory

Re:Why? (1, Interesting)

war4peace (1628283) | more than 2 years ago | (#39553051)

Most importantly though, he did it because he could.

That's the same reason dogs have when licking their balls.
Just sayin'...

Re:Why? (2)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 2 years ago | (#39553071)

I can think of several reasons for 'why not'.

The most obvious is that for a processor of that caliber, there are much better operating systems available that exist today. Spending time with one of those would be a far more valuable use of time.

Re:Why? (4, Insightful)

jd (1658) | more than 2 years ago | (#39553149)

Alternatively, someone might want to design a new 8-bit CPU for certain embedded tasks where it's essential for there to be low power consumption and a high-end sophisticated OS. There are plenty of extremely slow mechanical operations (combine harvesting, for example) where millisecond responses are not going to be useful but where the complexity of the problem (varying evenness of the ground, varying field shapes, etc) mean you do want to be able to handle many different types of sensor, sophisticated algorithms, etc, within something that needs to be extremely cheap to build/replace and extremely low power to run to be more cost-efficient than having a farmhand (who is likely to be earning minimum wage or below).

Another option is a System-on-a-Chip. At present, SoC runs into all kinds of problems because of the compromises you have to make to fit everything into one die. If you can reduce the transistors of the CPU component, you can increase the transistors somewhere else, which means this knowledge increases your flexibility in such systems. That's extremely valuable to know, even if you never go to this extreme.

For deep space probes, radiation is a major concern. Well, for anything in space it's a major concern, but the deeper you go into space the nastier the radiation. It's why the highest-end space-rated CPUs are so primitive compared to commercial CPUs. Being able to reduce the complexity of the CPU and utilize the extra space for redundancy, without reducing the sort of complexity of software the CPU will run, is great news for anyone wanting to rival the Pioneer 10 & 11/Voyager 1 & 2 missions in terms of longevity whilst equally wanting to match Deep Space 1 or the Mars Rovers in terms of flexibility. Knowing that you don't strictly need a 32-bit architecture to run Linux and that you can slice out huge chunks of the architecture gives you tremendous power.

Re:Why? (1)

JoeMerchant (803320) | more than 2 years ago | (#39552937)

6.5KHz, I am impressed, boot times should be..... glacial.

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39552979)

The same reason I have my Linux server attached to an old ass Wyse dumb terminal over the serial port instead regualr of a monitor and KB. Why not? The old serial how-to's from the late 90's that explain the setup are still around and I was able to find a termcap for it.

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39553145)

Why?

You have no clue how many geek cards one gets for this.

Another step (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39552667)

And the law of "linux runs on everything and if it doesn't, it will" persists.

Re:Another step (1)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | more than 2 years ago | (#39552879)

I thought that was the NetBSD law ...

Re:Another step (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39552959)

You said it right - "was". Linux took NetBSD's ported-to-many-platforms-crown several years ago.

Re:Another step (1)

unixisc (2429386) | more than 2 years ago | (#39553157)

Well, NetBSD doesn't run on Itanic. But the above law is a good one.

Sometime tomorrow... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39552669)

They'll submit "FIRST POST"

We could ... (4, Funny)

PPH (736903) | more than 2 years ago | (#39552671)

... build a Beowulf cluster of these!

Re:We could ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39552927)

That joke is older than your account.

Re:We could ... (1)

should_be_linear (779431) | more than 2 years ago | (#39553077)

or even better, Vista cluster of these, emulated on top of JavaScript-based VM.

Frist post! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39552679)

Posted from a 8 bit micro machine with 6.4 KHz CPU and 16 MB RAM

Um.... ok. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39552681)

Waste of time for anyone with anything important to do. Like watch TV.

Next: Emulate the 8-bit processor in Minecraft (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39552687)

Boot time: 17 days

Re:Next: Emulate the 8-bit processor in Minecraft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39552999)

Next: run Minecraft on the emulated 8-bit processor.

I'm almost scared to ask (1)

crazyjj (2598719) | more than 2 years ago | (#39552691)

But was there a point to this?

Re:I'm almost scared to ask (1)

getto man d (619850) | more than 2 years ago | (#39552731)

You can ask the same of most hobbies. I would assume it's mainly for personal enjoyment.

75 MHz 286 (0)

Janek Kozicki (722688) | more than 2 years ago | (#39552695)

well.. my record is running debian testing on od 286 processor 75 MHz with 16MB RAM. It was quite usable in X with PWM window manager.

Re:75 MHz 286 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39552751)

AFAIK 386 (not 286) is the minimum processor in the x86 architecture supported by Linux -- at least if we do not consider linux-nommu.

Re:75 MHz 286 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39552773)

except there never were 75 MHz 286, nor would linux boot on a 286?

Re:75 MHz 286 (1)

ewanm89 (1052822) | more than 2 years ago | (#39552793)

286 is 16bit I believe? I believe this is the first time anyone has actually run the linux kernel on less than 16bit which is the base the first linux was designed to run on.

Re:75 MHz 286 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39552837)

First was 32 bit. He wanted to figure out how to program for the 386...

Re:75 MHz 286 (1)

Zak3056 (69287) | more than 2 years ago | (#39553039)

286 is 16bit I believe? I believe this is the first time anyone has actually run the linux kernel on less than 16bit which is the base the first linux was designed to run on.

From the summary, Linux is actually running on an emulated 32-bit ARM, it just so happens that the emulator is running on an 8-bit CPU.

Re:75 MHz 286 (4, Interesting)

kwark (512736) | more than 2 years ago | (#39552877)

What 286 ran at 75Mhz? Only 486 cpus ran at those speeds. And AFAIK Debian never had a kernel for non 386 80x86 CPUs.

Re:75 MHz 286 (1)

wagnerrp (1305589) | more than 2 years ago | (#39552913)

Wasn't that a pretty typical system back when Debian first came out? And just where in the hell did you get a 75MHz 286?

Re:75 MHz 286 (1)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | more than 2 years ago | (#39552997)

Back in the days of dial-up and time-outs I had a co-worker running linux on two stripped down 386 machines. They didn't do anything but run ping periodically to keep the connection open. Still... it's nice to know you can still do it if you have such a limited needs as that.

Re:75 MHz 286 (1)

bipbop (1144919) | more than 2 years ago | (#39553021)

I think you mean 486.

My 0.02 (3, Insightful)

DaMattster (977781) | more than 2 years ago | (#39552701)

On one level this shows just how clever Dmitry is and it shows excellent problem solving skills. However, I would be more impressed if he could do something interesting with more modern technology. The technical challenges of booting a modern OS on dinosaur hardware are amazing and if he could take his innovation ability and apply it to state of the art technology, image what he could achieve.

Re:My 0.02 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39553067)

Really? I'd make him my Chief Science Officer or Chief of Engineering immediately.

Engage!

Re:My 0.02 (1)

Guy Harris (3803) | more than 2 years ago | (#39553125)

On one level this shows just how clever Dmitry is and it shows excellent problem solving skills. However, I would be more impressed if he could do something interesting with more modern technology. The technical challenges of booting a modern OS on dinosaur hardware are amazing and if he could take his innovation ability and apply it to state of the art technology, image what he could achieve.

It's called a "hobby project"; you might have heard the term "hobby" on occasion - people occasionally do not-necessarily-useful-in-the-Real-World(TM) things as hobbies, such as getting old {radios, cars, airplanes, computers, etc.} to work, because it's fun for them.

If you're curious what he achieves when he's not working on his hobbies, you might want to check his [dmitry.co] work [dmitry.co] pages [dmitry.co] , which are linked to from the sidebar on the site to which the article refers.

Geoworks (5, Informative)

Daniel Phillips (238627) | more than 2 years ago | (#39552707)

Nice trick. However, let me point out that in 1990 Geoworks GEOS was capable of running a preemptive multitasking GUI looking much like QT but with better automatic widget layout, on an 8 MHz 8088. I will just heave a great sigh in the name of the lost art of tight coding. No, Linux is not tightly coded. I should know. The best you can say about it is, the other guys are worse.

Re:Geoworks (4, Interesting)

Ichijo (607641) | more than 2 years ago | (#39552865)

No, Linux is not tightly coded. I should know. The best you can say about it is, the other guys are worse.

Not MenuetOS [menuetos.net] . It's an operating system with a graphical UI, pre-emptive multitasking, and USB and TCP/IP stacks that boots from a single floppy.

Re:Geoworks (3, Insightful)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 2 years ago | (#39552881)

My old stuff works so much better then my new stuff...%#@&*&(@+++ NO CARRIER Sorry Computer crashed. Because old software was so optimized... $#@%^^++ NO CARRIER For the old equipment. The only trade off was fault tolerance.

You will not believe how much Computing power goes to making sure your computer doesn't crash every day.

Back in the old days computers crashed much more then it does now. And it isn't that they are better programmers but more to the fact that there was a trade off on how much code in the back end needed to be done to protect the system.

Re:Geoworks (3, Informative)

kimvette (919543) | more than 2 years ago | (#39552949)

Nice trick with Geoworks, but the 8088 is a 16-bit processor on an 8-bit bus.

Now, GEOS (the predecessor to Geoworks) did run on 8-bit procesors in the '80s, but it was in no way multitasking.

Re:Geoworks (2)

jeffmeden (135043) | more than 2 years ago | (#39553023)

Nice trick. However, let me point out that in 1990 Geoworks GEOS was capable of running a preemptive multitasking GUI looking much like QT but with better automatic widget layout, on an 8 MHz 8088. I will just heave a great sigh in the name of the lost art of tight coding. No, Linux is not tightly coded. I should know. The best you can say about it is, the other guys are worse.

"better automatic widget layout" - this made my day. I remember using GEOS as a boy, on a C64. It was a lot of fun going from text menus to an actual mouse-relevant UI, but sophisticated it was NOT. Automatic widget layout? There were 8 icons per window and if you didn't like where they were you could (a)bort, (r)etry, (i)gnore.

Re:Geoworks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39553097)

GEOS and Geoworks are not the same thing you moron.

Re:Geoworks (1)

nuckfuts (690967) | more than 2 years ago | (#39553119)

My first and lasting impression of GEOS was how fast it felt. Everything I clicked on seemed instantaenous. Despite the massive advances in technology, I've yet to experience another GUI as responsive as that.

MS Windows was 4-bit (-1, Troll)

jaymzter (452402) | more than 2 years ago | (#39552723)

A 32-bit patch for a 16-bit GUI shell running on top of an
8-bit operating system written for a 4-bit processor by a
2-bit company who cannot stand 1 bit of competition.

Re:MS Windows was 4-bit (1)

Joe U (443617) | more than 2 years ago | (#39553075)

You forgot to add M$, most of the people in 1995 wrote this with M$.

that's fucking awesome! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39552725)

god bless you man!

Obvious post is obvious (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39552729)

It's probably one of the most expensive capacity/$ solution out there.

How much more... (1)

jzuccaro (1234644) | more than 2 years ago | (#39552741)

...until we get a joke about running Java on it.

Re:How much more... (1)

alexru (997870) | more than 2 years ago | (#39552825)

Funny, but the same guy promised to release full-blown JVM running on the same platform :)

Actually, cool! (1)

blind biker (1066130) | more than 2 years ago | (#39552745)

This whole project, while seemingly pointless, seems pretty damn interesting to me.

Question for Linux hackers: is there a reason why the Linux kernel would not be portable to an Atmel AVR microcontroller?

Re:Actually, cool! (2)

alexru (997870) | more than 2 years ago | (#39552887)

Question for Linux hackers: is there a reason why the Linux kernel would not be portable to an Atmel AVR microcontroller?

Linux requires MMU and AVRs don't have it. Memory limitations will kick in as well (the most powerful AVR has 256 kB of flash ans 32 kB of RAM, so external storage will be required)

Re:Actually, cool! (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39552945)

uC Linux does not require an MMU.

Re:Actually, cool! (1)

blind biker (1066130) | more than 2 years ago | (#39552985)

Thanks. I understand now :/

The Flash you're seeing in an AVR is just for storing programs, while the work memory (SRAM) is separate. It's not a Von Neumann machine.

Re:Actually, cool! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39552965)

Plenty of them, really. Not in any formal sense, of course (as demonstrated by what this is all about - if you were to put the emulation layer into the compiler, you could argue that you were "compiling the kernel for AVR"), it's essentially just a matter of size, and maybe the lack of an MMU. Much the same way you in principle could put a 1 GW nuclear power plant into the basement of an appartment building, somehow. But the infrastructure available there probably isn't exactly the best fit.

turtles all the way down (1)

ChipMonk (711367) | more than 2 years ago | (#39552805)

An ARM emulator running on an 8-bit microcontroller.

Alan Turing [wikipedia.org] strikes again!

Re:turtles all the way down (1)

uncle brad (1989490) | more than 2 years ago | (#39552923)

Now to get that 8-bit microcontroller emulated on a Turing machine.

How hard would native AVR be? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39552831)

I'm kind of surprised that he chose to use ARM emulation for this, and not try to use the bare AVR ISA. There is no MMU, but as far as I know, the rest of the AVR architecture is a pretty normal RISC machine with decent GCC support. Could uC Linux not be ported to 8-bit AVR?

I guess it must come down to required 16-bit and 32-bit sizes assumed by Linux.

Maybe this would be a hell of a lot more work, but it would probably run faster.

Windows 98ME (1)

rullywowr (1831632) | more than 2 years ago | (#39552869)

So what the article is basically saying is that this runs better than Windows 98ME?

Interesting but (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39552895)

The emulator is cool, but for $40 he could have bought a Rasberry Pi

(sigh) LINUX, is there anything (1)

nopainogain (1091795) | more than 2 years ago | (#39552917)

it can't do?

The real question is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39552933)

Can it play Crysis ?

But does it run... (4, Funny)

Qubit (100461) | more than 2 years ago | (#39552935)

...oh wait, I see what you did there.

DMV (4, Funny)

j00r0m4nc3r (959816) | more than 2 years ago | (#39552953)

Let me guess, the DMV ordered 1000 copies..?

2 Hours? That is fast! (4, Interesting)

DarthVain (724186) | more than 2 years ago | (#39552963)

"slowest Linux Computer running"...

I beat that score by a large margin. Years ago I took an old 386 Laptop that ran at 25Mhz, I don't recall how much ram it had, but I am going to go with "not much", and booted DSL (Damn Small Linux) in just over 21 hours. Which is over 10x as slow as the one in the article! So technically I think I had the "slowest Linux computer".

Why did it boot so slow? Well it was also the reason I used DSL, because it was less than 50MB, and I could fit it on a Zip drive. Attached via a parallel cable. It did work, and it did eventually boot, however I had to leave it over night (I thought it would eventually just crash), but it worked its way through. Also on a fun note, when typing and executing commands it was like telneting to the moon, there was like a 4-5 second delay between typing any command hitting execute, and any sort of result. I really just wanted to see if it was possible to install and run an OS on a zip drive connected via a parallel port. The answer is yes, but not very well.

Re:2 Hours? That is fast! (2)

DarthVain (724186) | more than 2 years ago | (#39553065)

Now that I think about it, I think the laptops hard drive was also so small that even DSL was much too large for it. It probably only had a 20MB hard dive in the thing, which would have made it necessary to try the zip drive thing at all if I wanted to use it as a linux machine. I think that necessity is what gave me the idea. Had a useless piece of hardware sitting around that I thought might be useful for something if I could get Linux on it. Turns out I was wrong... Still useless... :)

Re:2 Hours? That is fast! (1)

shippers (1100005) | more than 2 years ago | (#39553107)

It reminds me of using PCTask on the Amiga, watching it draw the windows, pixel by pixel, line by line... zzzzz...

Re:2 Hours? That is fast! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39553133)

How bad was your parallel port? 50 MB in 21 hours is roughly 5 kbps. Surely Iomega couldn't sell a disk drive that slow.. Floppy disks would be like 100 times faster.

Cool (1)

jd2112 (1535857) | more than 2 years ago | (#39552971)

When can I expect a Commodore 64 port?

My first linux box (2)

Cito (1725214) | more than 2 years ago | (#39552977)

Was a Packard Bell Legend 70 CD Supreme (haha)

was a 75 mhz, 8 meg ram, had a 4x cdrom (hence the cd supreme) it came with windows 3.11 on it and used trumpet winsock to get online.

I formatted it and installed Slackware Linux I got from a CD inside a book at "Waldenbooks" store I had bought on linux. I think it was somewhere around 2.0.20 - 2.0.29 era linux kernel.

Anyhow slackware on a 75mhz/8 meg ram was much much more fun and easier getting online than dealing with win 3.11 and trumpet winsock. I was shocked that slackware recognized the on board modem and the cdrom since the cdrom in that thing connected to a funky riser card.

Dmitry... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39552991)

Tsk... you're doing it wrong, son!

Use Tiny Core, not Ubuntu.

What's with people these days? Complaining Linux is heavy because Ubuntu is heavy... what gives?

GNU/Linux on a homebrew microcoded ARM processor (3, Insightful)

Guy Harris (3803) | more than 2 years ago | (#39553043)

That's how this is best thought of. In effect, he used an AVR chip as the microengine for a vertically-microcoded implementation of ARMv5, with some extensions. It's not as if Linux is running natively on an 8-bit architecture; that's be like saying, for example, that when OS/360 was running on a 90-bit-instruction/32-bit data VLIWish Harvard architecture machine when it's running on a System/360 Model 50.

Re:GNU/Linux on a homebrew microcoded ARM processo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39553127)

Emulators are not microcode.

Business as usual (1)

taniwha (70410) | more than 2 years ago | (#39553093)

I've worked as a logic monkey building CPUs in the past - this is SOP in our world - we'd boot linux on our hardware on the verilog simulator as part of our QA - 2 hours is nothing .....

It's not even a new idea 20 years ago I used to port Unix for a living (no linux yet), when the early RISCs came out they came with architectural simulators, while waiting for real silicon we'd spend the time bringing the kernel (and compiler) up

If it runs on such an old system... (1)

ebinrock (1877258) | more than 2 years ago | (#39553103)

Dang! Wonder what it would do on my AMD quad-core FX system with 8GB?

Yes, but (1)

Hillgiant (916436) | more than 2 years ago | (#39553163)

Does it run netBSD?

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