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alexeyt at freeshell.org
Thu Aug 3 21:15:13 CDT 2006
On Thu, 3 Aug 2006, Chuck Guzis wrote:
> Maybe, but Linux doesn't have anything like the old QNX demo--an OS and
> browser that boots from a single 1.44MB floppy:
> Even back then, it impressed the heck out of me.
They could only get away with that because of the supported hardware:
* 386 or better.
* 8 megs of ram.
* Hardware / RS232 modem (not a winmodem) or NE1000/2000, DEC 21x4x,
or 3com 509 based network card.
* Serial or PS/2 mouse.
* VGA or Vesa 2.0 compatible card.
* No hard disk needed
That must be the simplest set of x86 hardware that you can write a
networked, protected VM OS on; all long-lived, well-defined interfaces,
and only one set. No disk drivers even :-) Could you fit into such a small
footprint with their stock kernel? I doubt it; I think this was a special
Then there's their entirely in-house userland. Could you fit a variety of
things written by different groups? Again, I doubt it; code would be
duplicated, and it would be hard to remove everything non-essential
without removing something essential attached to it.
I don't hate QNX, but for some reason this demo has always irked me; I
don't feel it's fair to compare a nifty trick to a complete minimal
system. If you want to do something practical on x86, you'll need a lot
more than one floppy. Today's debian installer needs 2 1.44 floppies of
drivers on top of the most common ones built into the kernel (which lives
on its own 1.44 floppy).
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