*nix on "classic" systems

Jim Leonard trixter at oldskool.org
Tue Apr 10 11:57:10 CDT 2007

Cameron Kaiser wrote:
>>> It seems that you could take a fork of NetBSD 1.x and have something useful 
>>> to build on. 
>> That sounds quite reasonable, but you are then working with an old
>> system.  What I really dream of is a system which is kept current,
>> updated but not bloated.  I mean, I don't want great, fancy features
>> but a system which is not 5 or more years old, but current.
> What you want is a mini-kernel and userland. I fear very few modern distros
> or even OSes will fit that bill.

It should still be possible; you don't need a mini-kernel for a 16MB 
machine.  Four years ago I installed FreeBSD on a 386sx16 with 8MB RAM 
and it was fine.  Don't recall which version of FreeBSD that was though; 
might have been 2.7 (whichever was the last one to only require 5MB to 
install).  I booted from floppy and it installed itself over the 
internet.  The key, obviously, is not loading kernel modules you don't 
need.  Just don't expect XWindows, obviously.  The only thing that stunk 
was recompiling the kernel -- took 30+ hours (but was worth it since I 
compiled out stuff I didn't need and shaved 1.5MB of kernel size, which 
is significant on an 8MB machine.

You can always install the gentoo distribution on a faster PC, then 
build a 386-optimized size-optimized target system and then boot the 386 
with the compiled binaries and install... there are guides for doing 
this on gentoo.org I believe.
Jim Leonard (trixter at oldskool.org)            http://www.oldskool.org/
Help our electronic games project:           http://www.mobygames.com/
Or check out some trippy MindCandy at     http://www.mindcandydvd.com/
A child borne of the home computer wars: http://trixter.wordpress.com/

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