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Andrew Doran wrote:
I tried this out by disabling FP. The machine booted OK but a lot was
broken. Almost all recent x86 processors have FP, including the embedded
class ones, so I think it should be removed.



I know it may sound strange and that decisions like this should probably be based on technical reasons, but I think there are some other things to consider.

NetBSD's motto is "Of course it runs NetBSD", right? NetBSD still supports (and is proud to - or at least says so) a wide spectrum of, by today standards, seriously underpowered hardware. The decision to support it was (I believe) in some cases purely enthusiastic - probably nobody uses ports like hp300, atari or amiga for serious production purposes. Yet they're still supported.

I have few 486SX machines I would like to have supported. No, I don't want to put them into serious production use. But I don't want to throw them away either, and NetBSD seemed (until now) as a logical choice for them. I know I'm a nerd - but I like them, and I would like to see them supported, OK?

The fact that nobody steps forward on the mailing list, protesting against removal of support for this or that, doesn't mean that there's nobody out there who would like to see the hardware supported. A friend of mine has a 386 running NetBSD and uses it on a regular basis - and he surely was disappointed by the fact that NetBSD dropped support for 386. But he doesn't read the mailing lists => he didn't knew anything about it until the support was removed. I know it's not anyone's fault that he didn't know - I just think that this "nobody protests, nobody uses it" logic is kinda faulty.

I'm more than aware that removing support for 386 and (eventually) 486SX simplifies a lot of things. But NetBSD boasts of portability, and portability brings some issues - issues like this one. Either support for 486sx should be dropped along with many other things which "just complicate the matters and nobody uses them" (and the number of ports could be reduced to a third or quarter), or it could be fixed (which is the right way to do things IMHO), so that I (and nerds like me) can run NetBSD on their ancient-and-unusable machines.

I'm more then willing to do testing on my 486sx machines, if somebody is willing to fix support for them.

Vit Herman

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