[RULE] Thread on fedora-devel about dropping i486 support

Da Worm daworm at comcast.net
Sat Jun 5 06:19:13 EEST 2004

> Many of those people don't have clear what are the real issues with
> older HW: things like "even if i386 were still supported, the
> *packaging* is often so bad, and the apps so bloated *before* any
> distro to be unusable anyway".

These kinds of issues are why I joined this list in the first place.  While I have a P4-2.4Ghz as my main desktop, I have a room full (seemingly) of older PC's dieing for something to do.  However, I have yet to manage a RULE install on the one machine I wanted most to get going, a Compaq laptop with 8Meg RAM and a 540Meg HD (yeah, I know, I'm not likely to either).  I also have three nubus PowerMac's and a Sun Sparcstation 20, all of which are useless for RULE.  For my normal PC based boxen, I tend to use Gentoo, since even though it takes a while, I can compile everything optimized to the architecture I am using, from text only 486's to my 1.5TB raid5 server built on a P-III 450.  For instance, the Sparcstation 20 (60 Mhz PPC) took 9 days to compile KDE (that was done just to see if it could be done).  The surprising thing was, even though KDE is normally thought of as a "big box" desktop, once compiled it ran relatively quickly, thanks to the processor specific optimizations applied, as well as leaving out support for many of the things that couldn't possibly exist on that platform yet are compiled in by default anyway with most other distros (such as USB, PCMCIA, two dozen NICs, and several graphics cards, which this box doesn't have).  It took ten minutes to set my USE variable, and the rest was just waiting (and hoping a thunderstorm didn't kill power!).  Certainly easier than Slackware, which I have never got past the simplest installs.

All of this brings me to the point of this message.  If Fedora is going to be dropping core support for older processors and older architectures, is Red Hat/Fedora where Rule needs to, pardon me, hang its hat?  The Gentoo Portage system is well suited for optimization on limited hardware, and supports more than the x86 architecture (although my nubus Mac's are still left out -pout-).  Would it be possible to take what has been learned from making lean and mean Red Hat installations and apply similar concepts via Gentoo or making use of the Portage concept?  

I certainly don't want to start any kind of distro war here, as those are almost always completely useless.  It just seems to me that Red Hat is moving beyond where this project is focused to a point where you can't keep up, and that just makes trouble for everyone.  Of course, if the Fedora core keeps its older processor support, there is certainly no big reason to change.  It would be nice though, were a RULE type distro became available to those who have more than just x86 machines they'd like to support.

Just a thought, feel free to forward the whole thing to /dev/null if you like.


*********** REPLY SEPARATOR  ***********

On 6/5/2004 at 12:15 AM M. Fioretti wrote:

>On Fri, Jun 04, 2004 14:15:41 PM -0700, Oisin Feeley
> ofeeley at yahoo.com  wrote: 
>> http://www.redhat.com/archives/fedora-devel-list/2004-June/msg00069.html
>> Discussion with Alan Cox and others about whether or not to only
>> support i586,i686 on fedora-devel.  Proposal/request from Matthew
>> Miller (Boston U) to create a "Fedora Lite".
>> It'd be good if Marco could comment on this thread?
>Thanks for the link. I have read it, and encourage all members to have
>a look at it. The interesting things are that:
>dropping 486 won't really buy anything, according to uber-geeks. i386
>might be another matter
>Many of those people don't have clear what are the real issues with
>older HW: things like "even if i386 were still supported, the
>*packaging* is often so bad, and the apps so bloated *before* any
>distro to be unusable anyway". Or the fact that non-profit
>organizations almost never have the in-house expertise to make some
>of the hacks they mention.
>I'll subscribe to that list tomorrow, and see what they tell me. In
>the meantime, please post any comment here.
>> (I did evangelize RULE though !).
>Good guy! I am playing with the new website (have a look at
>http://www.rule-project.org/) and hope to announce it on fedora list
>Marco Fioretti                 mfioretti, at the server mclink.it
>Red Hat for low memory         http://www.rule-project.org/
>Cyberspace makes every place the same. But we're planning to put five
>billion people in it. [That] will freeze the entire species.
>Everything will stop dead in its tracks. Everyone will think the same
>thing at the same time.        -- Michael Crichton, "The Lost World"
>Original home page of the RULE project: www.rule-project.org
>Rule-list at rule-project.org

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