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Caluser2000
August 30th, 2010, 08:04 PM
Curious to know what is on other members machines and what you used in the past.

glitch
August 30th, 2010, 08:54 PM
I currently run m0n0wall (FreeBSD) on a 486-class Soekris net4511 as my router/firewall, and have a Slackware Linux 10.0 install on one of the partitions on my Gateway HandBook's 2 GB CF card.

My first at-home Linux experience was Mandrake Linux 8 or 9 on a 66 MHz DX-2 with 32 MB RAM. Needless to say, I was running console-only. I was also running MINIX 2.0.2 on a 33 MHz 386DX at the time, with IIRC 8 MB RAM (this actually acted as a web server!). For a long time, I used a Compaq Prolinea NET/1 (which Raven now owns!) with a 66 MHz 486DX-2 and 24 MB RAM, running Slackware Linux 9 with a custom-compiled 2.6-branch kernel for developing hardware odds-and-ends that connected to the parallel port. I even developed hardware to control a 3-Nixie-tube display from the parallel port and wrote Linux and Windows applications to display CPU utilization on it.

The coolest Linux-running 486 I had ran for years as a firewall/router in my rack at my parents' house. It began its life as an AT&T branded pizzabox desktop, but I modified its case a /lot/ to produce a 3U rackmount chassis with the ISA slots and backplane facing the front of the rack. Unfortunately, pictures are somewhere on the file server at home.

Dave Farquhar
August 31st, 2010, 07:24 AM
I ran Red Hat 6 on my Compaq Presario 660 (66 MHz 486SX, 24 MB RAM) for several years as my firewall/router. I had an oddball DEC Ethernet card and an NE2000 clone in it. It worked pretty well, but I eventually had to replace it with a Linksys router because my job at the time wouldn't let me VPN in to work unless I used a network device they configured. Of course the Linksys was a lot smaller and consumed less power.

I ran some other Linux distros on that same hardware, but definitely liked Red Hat best. In the late 1990s I didn't have a lot of choices.

I helped a couple of other friends build Red Hat 6-based routers out of old 486SXs in the late 1990s, when dedicated wired routers cost $200 or more. The smallest box we got it running on was something like a 20 or 25 MHz 486SX with 16 MB RAM. It was some obscure early 1990s brand, like Leading Technology. That was a painful install off a 2X CD-ROM. I remember the experience well; I just don't recall the exact make and specs of the machine. He ran it for a good 8-9 years, at least, until he wanted wireless and bought a Netgear device.

mbbrutman
August 31st, 2010, 07:32 AM
Similar story here ...

I put RedHat 6.1 on a 486DX2-66 to use it as a firewall/router when I first got a cable modem in 2000. I had the machine since 1994, and this was it's second mission after being my primary desktop for 6 years. (It had run OS/2 2.11 and Warp, but that's a different thread.) The machine still runs today, although only on occasion - it was replaced with a Linksys router about 5 years ago.

I recently installed RedHat 6.1 on another 486-66 and it was agonizingly slow. I've gotten quite spoiled in the last 10 years. :-)

Chuck(G)
August 31st, 2010, 07:57 AM
I used to run a very old version of RedHat 2 or (3?) on a 486 here as a mail server and still have it installed. But the system hasn't seen the live end of a power cord in a few years.

Dave Farquhar
August 31st, 2010, 09:22 AM
I recently installed RedHat 6.1 on another 486-66 and it was agonizingly slow. I've gotten quite spoiled in the last 10 years. :-)

Indeed. I installed one of the Linuxappliance.org distributions from CD on an Athlon XP box a few weeks ago. It took less than 10 minutes. On a faster box, installing off a USB flash drive, who knows how fast it would have been?

Visionary
August 31st, 2010, 05:40 PM
In the late 90s I had a 486 box setup with NetBSD (starting with 1.3) for use to serve NetBSD/sun3 on diskless Sun-3/160 clones (never got their SMD disks or tape drive to work). I also played FreeCiv on that one a bit :)

Within the last couple years I've played around with Debian and Damn Small Linux and FreeBSD on a couple of other 486's (what rekindled my interest was a 486 tower was found in a warehouse owned by my workplace). I had to run really old versions to get X to work though, but I haven't played with them for months.

http://lh3.ggpht.com/_WlGk-yN6Bo0/SqSYwwAr5AI/AAAAAAAAAGc/b5kXnZrZbl4/s512/0907090110a.jpg

Unknown_K
August 31st, 2010, 08:25 PM
Would Desqview/X count? lets you run Linux/Unix type X windows system.

Caluser2000
August 31st, 2010, 08:29 PM
I've got Mandrake 6 something on a my Presario 486. Agreed the installation took while, no surprise there really. Pruned all the, in my opion, unneeded stuff and was really surprised how well it runs. Every bit of hardware was picked up. WindowMaker is my default window manager, so that helps a bit. I quite like how you set up the menu and large buttons for most used suff (good those with failing sight ;)) and not a taskbar in sight.

I guess the best thing about it is the networking side of things. Plays nicely with any OS. A doodle to set up. Set the share directory up, copied and edited the smb.conf file off my higher end box restarted samba and wammo! No damn system reset.

Haven't tried to compile my own kernel yet. Must give it a go sometime.

Caluser2000
August 31st, 2010, 08:49 PM
Would Desqview/X count? lets you run Linux/Unix type X windows system.Why the heck not. Got screenies?

Unknown_K
August 31st, 2010, 09:01 PM
Why the heck not. Got screenies? Not from my setups (I have original boxed Desqview/X 1.x and 2.x), but there are pics on the net.

http://toastytech.com/guis/dvx.html

pitlog
September 2nd, 2010, 05:10 AM
Honestly, I don't run Linux on those old machines, I prefer to run older operating systems. I have SVR4 and SVR3 running on my 486 boxes, and I still use them, though mostly for play these days. And command line interface only, of course. I do some C programming, and use n/troff -ms to write articles and such.

I miss those days, when both the hardware and the software were much more approachable. I was able to understand just about everything about the OS, and the hardware. Today, at least for me, this is a hopeless task.

Cheers,
Tom
www.thisoldmicro.com

Caluser2000
September 2nd, 2010, 03:25 PM
Not from my setupsWonder if other members still play with it? It's available for download http://www.chsoft.com/dv.html

barythrin
September 2nd, 2010, 03:45 PM
I posted this before so I'll try to keep this shorter but when I had first tried to install linux (1997 maybe?) I tried Redhat which immediately failed to install. I was a bit flustered, tried a few times and tested my hardware but it was never happy. I tried FreeBSD which worked, then tried Debian which worked but was obviously a less friendly feel to it. Finally somehow I ended up chatting with someone who worked for TurboLinux who was about the same age and a really nice dude. He sent me some one version old copies of their software (the pres of the company supported that since they can't sell them) and explained that most distros had gotten away from their roots of the original kernel except a handful (debian, slackware, turbolinux) and required Pentium or higher processors.

Long story short I ended up running TurboLinux and then later FreeBSD again on my older systems.

Chuck(G)
September 2nd, 2010, 04:31 PM
Anyone else use Linux on a 486 to pick up their email via UUCP over a dial-up line?

Caluser2000
September 2nd, 2010, 05:53 PM
He sent me some one version old copies of their software (the pres of the company supported that since they can't sell them) and explained that most distros had gotten away from their roots of the original kernel except a handful (debian, slackware, turbolinux) and required Pentium or higher processors. Curiously enough the Mandrake version I've got on the Presario is supposed to be for Pentium class machines according to the box. It installed and runs fine though. Others that installed and ran fine were RH 5.2 as well as RH 6.0, Mandrake 6.1 for those interested. My understanding was that TurboLinux was a repackaged Red Hat variant not unlike Mandrake. Glad it worked for you. Can you recall the version?

Raven
September 2nd, 2010, 11:11 PM
Wonder if other members still play with it? It's available for download http://www.chsoft.com/dv.html

I've tried, can't get it running..

As for Linux, has anybody tried getting DOSBox running on a 486 under Linux? I know it's a bit psychotic, but who knows..

Caluser2000
September 3rd, 2010, 11:06 AM
I'll give DOSEMU a shot next time Presario is fired up. I think there's an rpm on the installation CD.
http://www.dosemu.org/

While I was out in the garage yesterday looking for Dos disks I tripped over a book entitled LINUX System Administrators Black Book. It's based around RH 6.2 and has a lot of interesting info. Have to pop into work though to get my reading glasses. Will take the dog for a walk to get them. Has a section on Kernel management I'm going to dig into.

Mike Chambers
January 3rd, 2011, 10:40 AM
i've run DOSEMU on my IBM PS/2 Model 8580, which is a 20 (or 16?) MHz 386 DX. it runs Debian 2.1 "Slink" and it handles it surprisingly well. DOSEMU runs well enough to handle text-based DOS apps acceptably. i'd estimate it emulates at around 30-40% the speed of an 8088.

Klee
January 4th, 2011, 08:49 AM
Slackware 1.something on a 486SX with 16mb until I upgraded to Red Hat 3. something for a short while then installed FreeBSD 3.5 or 3.6? via about 33 or 35 1.4mb floppys .

I still have that 486 .

Caluser2000
January 10th, 2011, 01:09 PM
Was at a second hand shop today and came across a ex-uni book entitled "The Linux Network". Comes with a Slackware 3.5 on CD. So will give that a go at some point. The drive with MD on it died so the Presario it is running dos at the moment. I must say the book is very well layed out and I'm sure to learn a bit from it. Only cost a $1.

bennyroger
January 14th, 2011, 08:07 AM
Will try to install an old version of linux on my 486DX-4 100Mhz this weekend, propably test out puppy linux, and surfing the net :)

Caluser2000
January 14th, 2011, 07:52 PM
Cool. Just put Mandrake 6.1 on an 8 gig drive connected to my Acer Acros(486DX2/66,32 megs). Tried RH 6.0 but that threw a paddy. Couldn't set time zone for some reason and installation had to be aborted. SuSE 7.2 just screamed via the speaker trying to load the kernal image using the floppy boot disk and CD2.

With 1 meg of video ram things seem a bit smoother with Xwindows compared to the CDS524s 512kb. Hard drive is faster so overall performance seems the similar dispite it lacking 32 megs of ram compared to the CDS and it's old, now scrapped, 2gig drive. Also the extra cache on the mobo helps I guess. Using Window Maker again to reduce overhead. As quick as OS/2 v3 with 16 megs on the DEC, another DX2/66 with old 420meg hdd. Boots faster with more services available. Though to be fair that was to the login prompt. Loading KDE or Gnome would take much longer. Some funky video effects running The Gimp with 8-bit colour lol and of course those bigger X apps are'nt going to load but there's plenty of terminal apps. All good though. As they say variety is the spice of life.

RetroHacker_
January 25th, 2011, 04:28 AM
I ran Linux for years on 486 and Pentium class machines. One of my daily use machines is still a 486 - 66mhz, 32 megs of RAM, 1.2 gig root disk, 40 gig home disk, CGA video, Ethernet, SCSI, etc. It's running Debian 4.0, and the latest kernel. It sees a lot of use - but I don't run X on it.

-Ian

njroadfan
February 2nd, 2011, 04:45 PM
I ran RedHat Linux 6.0 for years on a AMD 5x86-133Mhz machine with the infamous PC Chips M919 VIP board. text based ran fine, its role was as a firewall/router. X11 ran with FVWM95 but was kinda slow.

Caluser2000
October 7th, 2016, 07:04 PM
Just toying with the idea of throwing linux on another 486 just for the fun of it. It's been a while....
Found my old screen shots of the Mandrake 6.1 installation: http://imgur.com/a/bjTBS

lowen
October 8th, 2016, 06:25 AM
One of the more interesting things to do is run the Red Hat 5.2 install using the 'redneck' language. Still have a Red Hat 5.2 machine running..... AMD K6-2/400, so, not a 486, but I did run RH 5.2 on plenty of 486's back in the late 90's.

TJ_Mossman
October 8th, 2016, 11:03 AM
I have Slackware 8.1 on my 486 DX4-100 with 64MB RAM (overkill I know, but it's worth it when running X)

33690

I normally use the command line, but it runs Window Maker nicely, and it's still somewhat useful for internet tasks since I installed the following packages (mostly from later Slackware releases I think)

bzip2-1.0.5-i486-1.tgz
glibc-2.3.1-i386-3.tgz
lftp-2.5.4-i386-1.tgz
libpng-1.2.27-i486-1.tgz
links-2.1pre33-i486-1.tgz
openssh-4.4p1-i486-1.tgz
openssl-0.9.8i-i486-1.tgz

sgifanatic
October 8th, 2016, 09:50 PM
Why the heck not. Got screenies?

Here are some pics of Desqview/X and Puppy Linux running on the Gateway 486 I restored a couple of years ago:

3369433695

More on the story here: http://www.vcfed.org/forum/showthread.php?44930-Restoring-a-Gateway-2000-4DX2-50-80486-Desktop-(Warning-Lots-of-images)

sgifanatic
October 8th, 2016, 09:54 PM
Anyone else use Linux on a 486 to pick up their email via UUCP over a dial-up line?

Used to, back in the mid 90s. Ran a relay service in fact, with multiple phone lines and hundreds of connected nodes.

There was a DOS application called waffle that was quite popular in those days too. Ran and administered it before moving to Linux. Slackware, at the time, and in its very early days too!

Chuck(G)
October 9th, 2016, 07:19 AM
I eventually settled on RH 5 to handle email, but used early slackware back in the day. Now I run my email server from an Orange Pi running Ubuntu. Fits in a shirt pocket and set me back $15 USD, shipping included. It also serves to broadcast web radio around the house using a small FM transmitter powered from a USB slot. Using a quad-core CPU with a 600MHz GPU seems to be such a waste, considering that there's not even X installed.

The hilarious thing is that I still have the 1500W Elgar UPS powered by 4 garden tractor lead acid batteries running the whole affair. I should probably replace it with a small 4-cell lithium standby pack. The cooling fan probably draws more than the OPi does :)

Scali
October 9th, 2016, 08:41 AM
Back in the day when I first had a 24/7 internet connection at home, and wanted a router/home server, I started with an old 486DX2-66 machine, running FreeBSD, I believe version 4.0 at the time.
At some point I was pretty much my own 'ISP', because I had registered a domain for myself, and the machine did all the hosting for me. A mail server, FTPD, HTTPD, DNS, and various other services.
Over time it developed problems with the HDD, and since you can't put new HDDs in old machines, I had to upgrade the machine. Over the years, it went to a Pentium 133, Pentium Pro 200 and PII 350. They were all old machines that I had lying around, so it never cost me anything.
However, after the PII 350, I decided to finally get a cheap barebones low-end Pentium DualCore system, and that's what's still running today.

The 'domain' became smaller over time, as I figured it was easier to make use of free 'cloud' services than to host things myself, and having to configure, update and back up everything myself.
So my DNS is now hosted by afraid.org, and I use gmail to host mail for my domain. I no longer make much use of my own FTPD or HTTPD, since I share files with Dropbox, and I publish articles/blogs on Wordpress.
In fact, the HTTPD is currently not in a working state. An upgrade went wrong a while ago, and I have to reinstall the OS to get all the proper libraries back in working order, before I can get Apache installed again. But I can't be bothered really :)

pearce_jj
October 9th, 2016, 10:01 AM
They were all old machines that I had lying around, so it never cost me anything.

Except power, some of those machines were pretty bad, made worse by barely 60% efficient power supplies!

Scali
October 9th, 2016, 11:44 AM
Except power, some of those machines were pretty bad, made worse by barely 60% efficient power supplies!

Yea well, even with 60% efficiency, they're easily more power-efficient than a modern system with 80-90% efficient power supplies.
A 486DX2-66 only consumes around 4-5W I believe. Today we consider anything below 60W to be 'low-power' :)
Back then a 150W PSU was 'normal' for a desktop/miditower, and if you had a 'server/workstation' bigtower, you'd be the man with a 200W PSU.

Even the PII-350 was 'only' about 27W TDP I believe.

krebizfan
October 9th, 2016, 12:27 PM
Yea well, even with 60% efficiency, they're easily more power-efficient than a modern system with 80-90% efficient power supplies.
A 486DX2-66 only consumes around 4-5W I believe. Today we consider anything below 60W to be 'low-power' :)
Back then a 150W PSU was 'normal' for a desktop/miditower, and if you had a 'server/workstation' bigtower, you'd be the man with a 200W PSU.

Even the PII-350 was 'only' about 27W TDP I believe.

If one is willing to let a modern CPU run at idle, it will use about 20w (including graphics) which would be about half the power consumption of a PII + video card while providing much better performance.

SpidersWeb
October 9th, 2016, 12:52 PM
You could also force the idle settings to stick on even when it's busy and you'd be getting a lot more done per watt spent.
I only really use vintage server hardware for fun and/or compatibility reasons.

Scali
October 9th, 2016, 01:29 PM
If one is willing to let a modern CPU run at idle, it will use about 20w (including graphics) which would be about half the power consumption of a PII + video card while providing much better performance.

Firstly, that wasn't the point (I was talking about a 486, which would still be a hard act to follow with today's hardware), secondly, you can do that now, but this was 15-20 years ago. Back then, 'modern' stuff was P3/P4/Athlon, which had horrible power management, if at all.

I was just making a point that what we consider 'efficient' today, is pretty ridiculously powerhungry by 1990's standards. I mean, as I said, a 'high end' case would have a 200W PSU. These days even a standard desktop will have a PSU in the range of 400-750W, and you can get PSUs up to 1500W if you really want to go there.
Especially in the P3/P4/Athlon era, power consumption and heat shot through the roof, and they never really recovered from there.
It was never a 'contest' of what the most power efficient system would be, so please spare me this kind of useless comment.

The performance of the 486 was just fine back then, by the way. UNIX installations were a lot more lightweight then than they are today.

mbbrutman
October 9th, 2016, 04:05 PM
I think the easy thing to do is to get a 'Kill-a-watt' or other such device and just simply measure the current that the computer is drawing through the mains. That takes care of the hard drives, add-in cards, power supplies, etc. A few sample numbers would be interesting.

There is no doubt that modern machines are far more efficient. But we also expect them to do much much more. So excluding the CRTs, it wouldn't surprise me if the power draw at idle was not too far different.

Osgeld
October 9th, 2016, 06:10 PM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s9-UurN1q2w

its about a draw, stuff uses more power to compute now, but back then stuff used more power just to function

Chuck(G)
October 9th, 2016, 08:13 PM
I'm surprised that no one has mentioned "Monitor Misers"--little external boxes that connect between the monitor and the AC line and also between the PC and the keyboard. The idea is that when you quit typing for a long time, it powers the monitor off until you hit a key again. I've still got a couple of those kicking around.

CRT monitors could draw as much as the system itself.

pearce_jj
October 9th, 2016, 10:32 PM
The P4 era was the worst definitely. I've tended to put more and more on Rasoberry Pi SBCs recently, which use maybe 1W, obviously that isn't always possible if a lot of storage is involved.

I took a gamble a few years back and went with a 35W TDP i5 on a solid-cap board with 2.5" HDDs, it's served me well with idle consumption of about 20W and runs lots of VMs nicely. Power is expensive in the U.K., but it's just about paid for itself compared to the AMD Opteron system it replaced I think.

Scali
October 9th, 2016, 10:48 PM
There were other 'casualties' of this power race. For example, I used to work at a company that developed its own embedded devices. One of these used an AMD Geode and ran a custom x86 linux distribution with our software on top of it, connecting to the sensors in the device etc.
Some years ago, AMD stopped making the Geode. The only embedded x86 alternative that was left, was the Intel Atom series. Now, surely, these had much better performance-per-watt, and more performance in the absolute sense. However, you couldn't get them in the same power envelope as the Geodes. I don't recall the exact numbers, but let's say the Geode operated in about a 4-5W range, where the Atom was around 14W, something like that.
The problem was: our cases were designed for just 4-5W, and with the Geode, no special cooling was required. No fans, no special heatsinks or anything.
The Atoms however would overheat in this case, so the only way to make them work was to drill holes in the case and put in a fan. Also, these devices were installed on vessels and trucks and such, so when installing them, people would have to make sure there was enough airflow.

MCbx
October 10th, 2016, 07:54 AM
I remember these Geodes, X support for them has been removed ca. 2011, with removing "nsc" driver. They needed only a small heatsink and had a computational power comparable to Pentium 133MHz. Well, for me it was perfect for controlling a machine and was much cheaper than RPi, but it's needed to install Debian 5 on it to make X display a preview window.
Fortunately it has no connectivity.

Chuck(G)
October 10th, 2016, 09:59 AM
I've got several slim clients scattered about, doing various unattended things. All use Via processors (Esther, mostly, but one or two Nehemiah-equipped boxes. Low-power, can run Linux or Win98 just fine. Instead of the original DOMs, I'm using CF cards. Fan-less, with integrated PSU and real serial and parallel ports, as well as networking, and USB what's not to like?