VOGONS


First post, by debs3759

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I've always used DOS and Windows, since my first build in 1994. I consider myself an intermediate user - I can do pretty much anything, as long as it's in DOS or Doze.

For my everyday PC, I am currently using a Skylake CPU (i7 6700K). I recently decommissioned a Llano APU (A8-3870K) based PC, and want to experiment with Linux on it. I also want to try out Linux on PCs built around CPUs ranging from 486 to sockets 775 and AM2.

What is an easy distro to help me learn the basics in the FM1 based system (64-bit)? What distro will be good on a 486, that is still available? I don't need a list of what to use on everything in between, just a few suggestion of distros that will help introduce me to Linux on those two generations of system.

I already downloaded the latest FreeBSD, NetBSD and OpenBSD, although I don't expect a simple learning curve on them. With Linux, initially, I don't need full blown systems that can do everything I do in Doze, I just need to be able to run folding@home on the later system, and maybe a little coding and office type stuff, plus basic image manipulation, to get me familiar on the productivity side of things. And I need distros for which I can find basic guides to teach me about bash and other shells, as well as guides to whatever dev systems they offer. So nothing to complex at first.

Eventually I want to use open source software for everything except benchmarking (I'll always multiboot with Windows on one logical drive)

Any suggestions will be welcome 😀

See my graphics card database at www.gpuzoo.com
Constantly being worked on. Feel free to message me with any corrections or details of cards you would like me to research and add.

Reply 1 of 22, by Caluser2000

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Linux Mint 64-bit Debian addition.

Can be used live or installed on hdd.

There's a glitch in the matrix.
A founding member of the 286 appreciation society.
Apparently 32-bit is dead and nobody likes P4s.
Of course, as always, I'm open to correction...😉

Reply 2 of 22, by debs3759

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Caluser2000 wrote on 2021-05-27, 00:08:

Linux Mint 64-bit Debian addition.

Can be used live or installed on hdd.

Great, thanks. Will the 32-bit Mint work on a 486? It makes sense if I can use the same brand on each system I try it on until I'm more confident using Linux.

See my graphics card database at www.gpuzoo.com
Constantly being worked on. Feel free to message me with any corrections or details of cards you would like me to research and add.

Reply 3 of 22, by Caluser2000

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debs3759 wrote on 2021-05-27, 02:59:
Caluser2000 wrote on 2021-05-27, 00:08:

Linux Mint 64-bit Debian addition.

Can be used live or installed on hdd.

Great, thanks. Will the 32-bit Mint work on a 486? It makes sense if I can use the same brand on each system I try it on until I'm more confident using Linux.

No 32-bit Linux Mint will not work on a 486. It is Pentium Pro/686 class systems on..

Slackware did have a 486 kernal last time I used it. You needed to select it by a keystroke iirc.

I had Red Hat/Mandrake 6.x for quite some time on a 486DX2/66 system with 64megs of ram. Ran Window Maker as the default window manager. It actually ran rather well.

Here is a thread I created at Uncreative Labs some time ago. http://www.uncreativelabs.net/phpBB2/viewtopi … ighlight=redhat A few menber nicknames there will be familiar. The links to Photobucket don't work now but I'll see if I can fetch the imgur images I uploaded.

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Last edited by Caluser2000 on 2021-05-27, 06:32. Edited 1 time in total.

There's a glitch in the matrix.
A founding member of the 286 appreciation society.
Apparently 32-bit is dead and nobody likes P4s.
Of course, as always, I'm open to correction...😉

Reply 4 of 22, by darry

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IMHO, trying to run a distro based on a current kernel on a 486 is taking it a step too far, unless the objective is of the "can it be done" type . Again, IMHO, using an older version of Lnux with a 486 will yield better compatibility and actually tolerable performance .

There is this Floppinux - An Embedded Linux on a Single Floppy , if you want to try a modern kernel running from a floppy .

And if you really want to try a full Linux distro on a 486, there is this https://github.com/yeokm1/gentoo-on-486 . Compiling from source with the 486 as a target architecture is pretty much your only option if you want to try run (crawl) anything modernish on a 486, AFAICT .

Yet again IMHO, running a modernish Linux distro with GUI on a 486 is barely more useful than getting Windows 98 running on a 386SX at 16MHz .

Whatever you do, good luck and have fun .

Reply 5 of 22, by debs3759

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Caluser2000 wrote on 2021-05-27, 04:31:
No 32-bit Linux Mint will not work on a 486. It is Pentium Pro/686 class systems on.. […]
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debs3759 wrote on 2021-05-27, 02:59:
Caluser2000 wrote on 2021-05-27, 00:08:

Linux Mint 64-bit Debian addition.

Can be used live or installed on hdd.

Great, thanks. Will the 32-bit Mint work on a 486? It makes sense if I can use the same brand on each system I try it on until I'm more confident using Linux.

No 32-bit Linux Mint will not work on a 486. It is Pentium Pro/686 class systems on..

Slackware did have a 486 kernal last time I used it. You needed to select it by a keystroke iirc.

I had Red Hat/Mandrake 6.x for quite some time on a 486DX2/66 system with 64megs of ram. Ran Window Maker as the default window manager. It actually ran rather well.

Here is a thread I created at Uncreative Labs some time ago. http://www.uncreativelabs.net/phpBB2/viewtopi … ighlight=redhat A few menber nicknames there will be familiar. The links to Photobucket don't work now but I'll see if I can fetch the imgur images I uploaded.

Thanks. Downloading Mandrake 6.1 now, from the Wayback Machine. Now I just need to buy a 3.5" bay CF-IDE adapter so I can swap drives and have DOS/WfW, Win 95 and Linux on separate drives.

See my graphics card database at www.gpuzoo.com
Constantly being worked on. Feel free to message me with any corrections or details of cards you would like me to research and add.

Reply 6 of 22, by debs3759

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darry wrote on 2021-05-27, 06:20:
IMHO, trying to run a distro based on a current kernel on a 486 is taking it a step too far, unless the objective is of the "can […]
Show full quote

IMHO, trying to run a distro based on a current kernel on a 486 is taking it a step too far, unless the objective is of the "can it be done" type . Again, IMHO, using an older version of Lnux with a 486 will yield better compatibility and actually tolerable performance .

There is this Floppinux - An Embedded Linux on a Single Floppy , if you want to try a modern kernel running from a floppy .

And if you really want to try a full Linux distro on a 486, there is this https://github.com/yeokm1/gentoo-on-486 . Compiling from source with the 486 as a target architecture is pretty much your only option if you want to try run (crawl) anything modernish on a 486, AFAICT .

Yet again IMHO, running a modernish Linux distro with GUI on a 486 is barely more useful than getting Windows 98 running on a 386SX at 16MHz .

Whatever you do, good luck and have fun .

I wouldn't even think about running any modern OS on hardware that is over 25 years old. I'm crazy but not a masochist 😀 Running an older distro will force me to learn a lot, which is the idea.

See my graphics card database at www.gpuzoo.com
Constantly being worked on. Feel free to message me with any corrections or details of cards you would like me to research and add.

Reply 7 of 22, by Caluser2000

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debs3759 wrote on 2021-05-27, 06:57:
darry wrote on 2021-05-27, 06:20:
IMHO, trying to run a distro based on a current kernel on a 486 is taking it a step too far, unless the objective is of the "can […]
Show full quote

IMHO, trying to run a distro based on a current kernel on a 486 is taking it a step too far, unless the objective is of the "can it be done" type . Again, IMHO, using an older version of Lnux with a 486 will yield better compatibility and actually tolerable performance .

There is this Floppinux - An Embedded Linux on a Single Floppy , if you want to try a modern kernel running from a floppy .

And if you really want to try a full Linux distro on a 486, there is this https://github.com/yeokm1/gentoo-on-486 . Compiling from source with the 486 as a target architecture is pretty much your only option if you want to try run (crawl) anything modernish on a 486, AFAICT .

Yet again IMHO, running a modernish Linux distro with GUI on a 486 is barely more useful than getting Windows 98 running on a 386SX at 16MHz .

Whatever you do, good luck and have fun .

I wouldn't even think about running any modern OS on hardware that is over 25 years old. I'm crazy but not a masochist 😀 Running an older distro will force me to learn a lot, which is the idea.

I purchased a boxed copy of Macmillian Softwares Linux OS 6.5 based on Mandrake 6.1. The specs listed 586 up but installed in the 486 fine. The box is long gone but I stall have the disk/CDs and manuals. It came with a custom version of Partition Magic to create the Ext2 and Swap partitions. Also included Boot Magic.

Getting hold of some dead tree manuals on Linux commands would be usefull as well. I anything different it takes time to get familiar with it.

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There's a glitch in the matrix.
A founding member of the 286 appreciation society.
Apparently 32-bit is dead and nobody likes P4s.
Of course, as always, I'm open to correction...😉

Reply 8 of 22, by gerry

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i remember trying linux back then and mandrake 7 was one of them, there was red hat too, 5.2 and vector linux too

other than it being an interesting idea to use that for 32 bit i do have a memory that the phrases 'ready for the desktop' and 'it just works' didnt really apply!

actually they did ok with basics but usually failed on sound drivers and a few other things

anyway, have fun!

for modern* systems i like linux mint & peppermint os (for being even lighter) as two that seem to get drivers right on each system i have tried, but many options exist that are equally good

*modern means core duo plus to me

Reply 9 of 22, by Caluser2000

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I had never even heard of Linux until the late 1990s.

It took me a few years to get comfortable with Linux. I set up a HP slimline P200mmx system with Red Hat 7.3 on it, remioving a lot of bloted XWindows crap like Nautilus. Started with 64megs of ram and when extra ram became available by stripping down older systems given to me. Then maxed it out to 256megs with 4.2gig hard drive and max out the vram to 2megs by pulling vram from a video card. I was still using Win98rtm on our main home setup until I was given a 2.xghz Dell P4 system with XP on it.

There's a glitch in the matrix.
A founding member of the 286 appreciation society.
Apparently 32-bit is dead and nobody likes P4s.
Of course, as always, I'm open to correction...😉

Reply 10 of 22, by Jo22

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debs3759 wrote on 2021-05-26, 23:44:

What distro will be good on a 486, that is still available? I don't need a list of what to use on everything in between, just a few suggestion of distros that will help introduce me to Linux on those two generations of system.

SuSe 5.x-7.x, maybe? That's what I had on a 586 PC roughly 20 years ago.

But beware, 90's Linux is really a challenge if these things are involved :
- USB
- Power savings mechanisms
- Printers (GDI printers, level indicator not supported)
- WinModems
- ATAPI CD-ROM drives (SCSI and proprietary controllers are ok)
- Exotic VGA cards
- Plug&Play ISA cards
- Sound cards (esp. full-duplex operation)
- Network cards

For example, the NE2000 driver is a total mess.
So consider using a card with native support.
https://www.os2museum.com/wp/was-the-ne2000-really-that-bad/

"Time, it seems, doesn't flow. For some it's fast, for some it's slow.
In what to one race is no time at all, another race can rise and fall..." - The Minstrel

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Reply 11 of 22, by Caluser2000

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Jo22 wrote on 2021-07-07, 22:24:
SuSe 5.x-7.x, maybe? That's what I had on a 586 PC roughly 20 years ago. […]
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debs3759 wrote on 2021-05-26, 23:44:

What distro will be good on a 486, that is still available? I don't need a list of what to use on everything in between, just a few suggestion of distros that will help introduce me to Linux on those two generations of system.

SuSe 5.x-7.x, maybe? That's what I had on a 586 PC roughly 20 years ago.

But beware, 90's Linux is really a challenge if these things are involved :
- USB
- Power savings mechanisms
- Printers (GDI printers, level indicator not supported)
- WinModems
- ATAPI CD-ROM drives (SCSI and proprietary controllers are ok)
- Exotic VGA cards
- Plug&Play ISA cards
- Sound cards (esp. full-duplex operation)
- Network cards

For example, the NE2000 driver is a total mess.
So consider using a card with native support.
https://www.os2museum.com/wp/was-the-ne2000-really-that-bad/

The only one ones that list I'd personally tick is Winmodems and PNP ISA cards.. You obviously haven't used Xandros 2 or 3 then...😀

It has support for usb pen drives which is excellent. Being a commercial release it supports nvidia cards of that era as well.

Last edited by Caluser2000 on 2021-12-14, 06:03. Edited 1 time in total.

There's a glitch in the matrix.
A founding member of the 286 appreciation society.
Apparently 32-bit is dead and nobody likes P4s.
Of course, as always, I'm open to correction...😉

Reply 12 of 22, by Caluser2000

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debs3759 wrote on 2021-05-27, 06:57:
darry wrote on 2021-05-27, 06:20:
IMHO, trying to run a distro based on a current kernel on a 486 is taking it a step too far, unless the objective is of the "can […]
Show full quote

IMHO, trying to run a distro based on a current kernel on a 486 is taking it a step too far, unless the objective is of the "can it be done" type . Again, IMHO, using an older version of Lnux with a 486 will yield better compatibility and actually tolerable performance .

There is this Floppinux - An Embedded Linux on a Single Floppy , if you want to try a modern kernel running from a floppy .

And if you really want to try a full Linux distro on a 486, there is this https://github.com/yeokm1/gentoo-on-486 . Compiling from source with the 486 as a target architecture is pretty much your only option if you want to try run (crawl) anything modernish on a 486, AFAICT .

Yet again IMHO, running a modernish Linux distro with GUI on a 486 is barely more useful than getting Windows 98 running on a 386SX at 16MHz .

Whatever you do, good luck and have fun .

I wouldn't even think about running any modern OS on hardware that is over 25 years old. I'm crazy but not a masochist 😀 Running an older distro will force me to learn a lot, which is the idea.

Apparently a thing called FreeDos works on old kit. Haven't you heard of it?...😉

There's a glitch in the matrix.
A founding member of the 286 appreciation society.
Apparently 32-bit is dead and nobody likes P4s.
Of course, as always, I'm open to correction...😉

Reply 13 of 22, by debs3759

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Jo22 wrote on 2021-07-07, 22:24:
SuSe 5.x-7.x, maybe? That's what I had on a 586 PC roughly 20 years ago. […]
Show full quote
debs3759 wrote on 2021-05-26, 23:44:

What distro will be good on a 486, that is still available? I don't need a list of what to use on everything in between, just a few suggestion of distros that will help introduce me to Linux on those two generations of system.

SuSe 5.x-7.x, maybe? That's what I had on a 586 PC roughly 20 years ago.

But beware, 90's Linux is really a challenge if these things are involved :
- USB
- Power savings mechanisms
- Printers (GDI printers, level indicator not supported)
- WinModems
- ATAPI CD-ROM drives (SCSI and proprietary controllers are ok)
- Exotic VGA cards
- Plug&Play ISA cards
- Sound cards (esp. full-duplex operation)
- Network cards

For example, the NE2000 driver is a total mess.
So consider using a card with native support.
https://www.os2museum.com/wp/was-the-ne2000-really-that-bad/

The only items on that list that I will use on a 486 are an ATAPI CD-ROM and a 3Com network card. I'm hoping that the network card was common enough to be supported early on. I've also got to figure out how to install Linux on that system from CD, with the system probably not support the CD-ROM as a bootable device (won't be able to confirm that either way until later in the summer, when I'll have shelves for everything that cluttering up my work space). If I ever use an NE2000 nic, it would be for Win 9x, as I know that works smoothly, but I have several 3Com cards for that era.

See my graphics card database at www.gpuzoo.com
Constantly being worked on. Feel free to message me with any corrections or details of cards you would like me to research and add.

Reply 14 of 22, by debs3759

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Caluser2000 wrote on 2021-07-07, 22:45:
debs3759 wrote on 2021-05-27, 06:57:
darry wrote on 2021-05-27, 06:20:
IMHO, trying to run a distro based on a current kernel on a 486 is taking it a step too far, unless the objective is of the "can […]
Show full quote

IMHO, trying to run a distro based on a current kernel on a 486 is taking it a step too far, unless the objective is of the "can it be done" type . Again, IMHO, using an older version of Lnux with a 486 will yield better compatibility and actually tolerable performance .

There is this Floppinux - An Embedded Linux on a Single Floppy , if you want to try a modern kernel running from a floppy .

And if you really want to try a full Linux distro on a 486, there is this https://github.com/yeokm1/gentoo-on-486 . Compiling from source with the 486 as a target architecture is pretty much your only option if you want to try run (crawl) anything modernish on a 486, AFAICT .

Yet again IMHO, running a modernish Linux distro with GUI on a 486 is barely more useful than getting Windows 98 running on a 386SX at 16MHz .

Whatever you do, good luck and have fun .

I wouldn't even think about running any modern OS on hardware that is over 25 years old. I'm crazy but not a masochist 😀 Running an older distro will force me to learn a lot, which is the idea.

Apparently a thing called FreeDos works on old kit. Haven't you heard of it?...😉

I don't think of FreeDOS as a modern OS as it basically emulates MS-DOS (with improvements). I'll be trying out a few OS on CF cards on my oldest systems, with a Startech 3.5 bay card adapter

See my graphics card database at www.gpuzoo.com
Constantly being worked on. Feel free to message me with any corrections or details of cards you would like me to research and add.

Reply 15 of 22, by debs3759

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As well as downloading Mandrake 6.1, I just bought a copy of SuSe 7.0 (open box) for $9 plus shipping (£20.01 total). Also downloaded SuSe 6.0 and 7.1, and Xandros 3.

Thank you to everyone who answered. I will try other distros as well, but this is a good start.

See my graphics card database at www.gpuzoo.com
Constantly being worked on. Feel free to message me with any corrections or details of cards you would like me to research and add.

Reply 16 of 22, by Caluser2000

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debs3759 wrote on 2021-07-09, 20:58:

As well as downloading Mandrake 6.1, I just bought a copy of SuSe 7.0 (open box) for $9 plus shipping (£20.01 total). Also downloaded SuSe 6.0 and 7.1, and Xandros 3.

Thank you to everyone who answered. I will try other distros as well, but this is a good start.

Just go have some fun dude. Whether you end up liking or dislike Linux it does not matter one iota. It's the journey that really maters...😉

There's a glitch in the matrix.
A founding member of the 286 appreciation society.
Apparently 32-bit is dead and nobody likes P4s.
Of course, as always, I'm open to correction...😉

Reply 17 of 22, by chrismeyer6

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Very nice. My first foray into Linux was Suse 7.3 I bought it from staples of all places back when it was first released. I ran it on a Compaq deskpro 2000 with a 233mmx and 128megs of ram. It was awesome it was the family computer so my parents learned and loved it as well that was good times. I've been using Suse since then I've tried other distros but I keep coming back to Suse.

Reply 18 of 22, by Dusko

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I was a big fanboy of Ubuntu until they came up with the Material theme (or something like that) around the time Win 8 came around. I guess they copied the Win 8 idea and screwed the whole thing as Microsoft did. This is my assumption, I may be wrong. I basically forgot about linux for a while and then started using Linux Mint, which as I understand, it's a fork of Ubuntu. I installed it not long ago in one of my old laptops. I also used Suse a long time ago, no idea how well developed it is today. Sorry I'm not saying much here, but wanted to share my thoughts.

Reply 19 of 22, by appiah4

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The issue with most contemporary Linux distributions for a 486 is that they are pretty user unfriendly, particularly with regards to installation, kernel module support, package management and initial setup. I became acquainted with Linux on a 486 (DX4-100) with Slackware 3.x in 1997 and it was janky as fuck. I got it working, but it was an incredible uphill fight and a very steep learning curve. The breakthrouhgh for me was RedHat 5.0 in 1998. RPM along with a decent installer, and a distribution that targeted reliability for workstation class PCs made it MUCH smoother for me. I ran this on a P-133 but I don't think it would be much worse on a DX4 to be honest. I upgraded to 5.2, then moved on to 6.x and later 7.x for my Pentium II/III systems but I never really liked RedHat 6.x onwards to be honest - I feel like the bloat got out of hand and early GNOME WM was not a pleasant experience. I tried making the move to Mandrake/Mandriva, and never liked it. I had some good experience with SuSe before settling on Ubuntu. After that went to shit my go-to distro became Linux Mint but I now have an eye on MX Linux.

So, go for Redhat 5.2 if you ask me. As for a window manager, I ran WindowMaker which is (apparently) a NeXTStep like UI (I never knew what NeXTStep was back in the day, it was just easy to use for me as a Linux newbie) and I can heartily recommend that, but the default fvwm is also quite fine for daily use.

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