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Linux drops support for Intel i386 processors in kernel

updated 06:54 pm EST, Sun December 16, 2012

Change in 3.8 kernel seen as positive by Torvolds

Linux is phasing out support for Intel's i386 architecture, in an effort to simplify maintenance to the operating system's kernel. The changes in the 3.8 version of the kernel marks a departure of the OS from the processor that Linus Torvolds developed Linux on in 1991, an architecture the software supported long after the rest of the computing industry moved on to other architectures.

A Git commit by Ingo Molnar of Red Hat claims that the removal of support for 386-DX/SX processors "zaps quite a bit of complexity" in the kernel, which caused trouble to those working behind the scenes when updating SMP primatives. A "nostalgic cost" was associated with the change, namely the original 386 DX33 system would not "boot modern Linux kernels anymore." A response back by Torvolds states "I'm not sentimental. Good riddance."

The recently released Linux 3.7, though not mentioning the removal of i386, does add in ARM multi-platform and ARM 64-bit support, a virtual extensible LAN tunnelling protocol, and Intel "supervisor mode access prevention" support.

by MacNN Staff




  1. demani

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 01-26-05

    there's a difference between removing the i396 architecture and the removal of support for the 386/486 chips.

  1. cgc

    Professional Poster

    Joined: 03-25-03

    Originally Posted by demaniView Post

    there's a difference between removing the i396 architecture and the removal of support for the 386/486 chips.

    You can't reason with the MacNN knows no pain.

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