*nix on 8086 (was installing XP on Sony)

Dave Dunfield dave04a at dunfield.com
Sat Mar 5 09:45:15 CST 2005

>> > Actually, Linux will run on an 8086, nowadays, completely without
>> > memory management as an embedded OS :)
>> > 
>> > I vaguely remember seeing a page about running Linux on the Tosh
>> > 1000 :)
>> That's the ELKS project, which promptly went inactive as soon as they
>> got something cobbled together.  A much better bet for running *nix on
>> 8088 hardware is Minix.
>Or early Xenix.  But my Altos 8086-based machine that runs ancient Xenix
>is very proprietary, with (I believe, though I haven't got any 'deep'
>technical specs for it) supplimentary hardware for memory protection.

I have Xenix running on the Nabu 1600. This is an 8086 processor with 512k
or RAM, four serial TTYs, and a custom MMU board which provides memory
protection and management features Xenix will NOT run with the MMU board
removed. Early QNX however does run without the MMU (as does CP/M-86 and
MS-DOS) - QNX is one of the smallest somewhat *nix like OS's that I've
seen run on a bare 8086.

dave04a (at)    Dave Dunfield
dunfield (dot)  Firmware development services & tools: www.dunfield.com
com             Collector of vintage computing equipment:

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