Linus Torvalds, father of the free, open source, Unix clone Linux, announced that the latest build of his alt-OS darling will no longer support 80386 class processors. This being the Internet and all, there is sure to be some measure of nerd rage vented about the fact 386 operators will not being able to install the latest OS on their devices. However, this move has nothing to do with the lack of power in the venerable CPUs of yesteryear and everything to do with saving Linus and company’s sanity. The latest update post on git.kernel.org explains:
“"This tree removes ancient-386-CPUs support and thus zaps quite a bit
24 files changed, 56 insertions(+), 425 deletions(-)
... which complexity has plagued us with extra work whenever we wanted to change SMP primitives, for years.
Unfortunately there's a nostalgic cost: your old original 386 DX33 system from early 1991 won't be able to boot modern Linux kernels anymore. Sniff."
I'm not sentimental. Good riddance.”
Intel manufactured 386 class processors from 1985 all the way through the year 2007. Speeds of these chips ran from 16 MHz all the way up to a blazing 40 MHz. That’s MEGAhertz, mind you. Not the 1000 times faster GIGAhertz. Math co-processors were not a standard component of the CPU and most 386 motherboards included a socket for its inclusion later. While wholly obsolete for use in PCs long before 2007, the chip would continue to find use world-wide as part of embedded systems and in some early smartphones such as the BlackBerry 950.
As Apogee’s FPS Rise of the Triad told you back in 1994 when you shrunk the screen all the way down for better system performance, it’s time to buy a 486.