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Supporting older hardware

Supporting older hardware

Posted Sep 17, 2008 14:46 UTC (Wed) by martinfick (subscriber, #4455)
In reply to: Supporting older hardware by spaetz
Parent article: KS2008: Linux 3.0

That seems like a silly question: the same thing that's wrong with an ancient kernel for recent hardware! The lack of all the new features!

Are you assuming that the only reason people ever upgrade kernels is for new hardware drivers?


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Supporting older hardware

Posted Sep 18, 2008 11:30 UTC (Thu) by canatella (subscriber, #6745) [Link]

Well If I'm running on older hardware, I know that I won't be able to use the fancy new features...

Man, I'm forced to run on an 2.2 kernel. It's a pity, I don't even have usb hotplug support... Wait, I don't have usb on my 133Mhz pentium!

Supporting older hardware

Posted Sep 18, 2008 14:39 UTC (Thu) by martinfick (subscriber, #4455) [Link]

"Are you assuming that the only reason people ever upgrade kernels is for new hardware drivers?"

Well If I'm running on older hardware, I know that I won't be able to use the fancy new features...

I'll take that answer as a "yes" to my question. Perhaps you do not realize some of the other nifty things that kernels do besides support hardware, especially the linux kernel? :)

If I have old hardware, do you think I do not want?:
  • New advanced more robust filesystems (ext3/4, xfs, jfs, reiserfs, fuse, unionfs, brtfs, glusterfs...)
  • New networking protocol support, iptables...
  • Security fixes/new security models (SELinux, apparmor...)
  • Improved schedulers, i/o, process, elevators...
  • Improved block management features, lvm2, drbd, nbd, iscsi...
  • Performance improvements (futexs, pipe io, select/poll........)
  • Real time improvements, low latency...
  • Containerazation support
  • User api improvements .......
  • General bug fixes ......

In fact, I am embarrassed to say that I probably haven't even touched the tip of the iceberg of non hardware features that someone with an old kernel might want since I am too ignorant. But, surely you should be able to realize that newer kernels in linux mean a lot more than newer hardware support!

Supporting older hardware

Posted Sep 23, 2008 2:10 UTC (Tue) by unaiur (guest, #3563) [Link]

Do you have tried all those fancy features in a 66Mhz 80486? Fedora doesn't boot up. RedHat Linux 9.0 is ssssslllllooooowwww. The best mainstream OS for that machine is a RedHat 7.2 based on 2.4.x kernel. Period.

Supporting older hardware

Posted Sep 23, 2008 13:57 UTC (Tue) by martinfick (subscriber, #4455) [Link]

Hmm, isn't that the whole point of the discussion, whether an effort should be made to support older hardware or not? Your argument is a little bit circular, "it doesn't work, therefore, do not make it work"?

Supporting older hardware

Posted Jan 12, 2009 10:57 UTC (Mon) by Blaisorblade (guest, #25465) [Link]

The point is not circular. It is "it does not work and nobody with development skills care enough, so don't make it work".

Except that there are contemporary lightweight distributions, even if sometimes not based on glibc. Indeed, glibc bloat is probably the reason for which new distros are slow. The kernel isn't light either - Matt Mackall has been working on Linux-tiny, but most developers are happy to trade memory for speed, from the point of view of a 486 user, and they are indeed right: by current standards, nobody would say they trade memory for speed so easily :-).


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