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Re: 80386 support

Dear All,

Without diving into the "discussion on principles", let me just suggest to use 
NetBSD 1.5.2. If you want a "minimal solution" for an old box, then that the 
most minimal without much hassle that I know of is SmallLinux (note the triple 
"L") and BasicLinux (both Slackware derivatives). But NetBSD 1.5.2 actually 
feels much more "complete". FreeBSD 2.2.7 is also a very good solution. I 
usually install in a bigger machine and just put the disk back. You can, if you 
use "dd mode" for the installation, i.e. without an MBR, even use ridiculously 
large disks in old machines (e.g., 80386 laptop, 4MB RAM, 60 GB harddisk).

I - NOT being a developer - have had quite nice experiences with these. The 1.6 
series feels much "larger" and "slower" for me, I cannot tell you why.

Your ACTUAL problem with "old" platforms is that not just NetBSD, but actually 
NOTHING ELSE runs on them. I doubt that you will find too much A) "new" 
software that is B) "broadly used" on C) ancient hardware. If you go for 
desktop grade stuff, you end up with not enough horsepower, if you try server 
applications, you lack reliability (a 80386 would be by now, generally, over 20 
years old). [And if you dig up some exception, please bear point B) above in 

With a new Unixoid on an old machine, it usually feels for me as if you try to 
stuff in a jet engine into the Wright flyer.

Kind regards,


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