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Thread: The 386 is truly dead... right?

  1. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by Svenska View Post
    NetBSD has dropped 80386 support around 2012, maybe earlier.

    They all dropped the 80386 support in favour of SMP, since you can't support both at the same time (at least not well). Building and maintaining a full distribution build specificly for the 386 (including testing) is not useful, since these systems are very slow and can't run most of the software due to lack of RAM anyway.

    That said, I know that a 486/33 is capable of running SSH, while a 286/12 is not (the session runs out before the 286 has finished computing the session key). So I'd guess that any 386 should be able to do a TLS handshake in time, if the server-side settings are not too crazy. However, it might be easier to set up a proxy server, which renders the modern web using a decent engine into a GIF image including area maps for the links, so that links stay clickable. This has been done and seems to work well enough.
    Linux has dropped 386 in 2012 since 3.8 kernel together with Cyrix 486DLC and NexGen Nx586. FreeBSD and NetBSD stopped to run on 386 with their 5.0 releases. OpenBSD also lost 386 somewhere in the past. However you can still pick up an older release and use it. Software that you really need may be compiled on a faster machine.

  2. #22

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    Recently I put my 286 out and up running Arachne 1.97 for DOS - it's on http://www.glennmcc.org/arachne/

    FreeDOS comes with Arachne and Dillo. My experience is both run faster on FreeDOS. Dillo may require a 486 though.

    Another trick is to install Arachne to a RAMDrive.....that will REALLY speed things up. Running it that way on my 486 DX4 is almost as comfortable as Firefox on my main PC.

    I don't know any web browser old or as-close-to-current-as-possible for Windows 3.1x that will work with a 386. Some of the earliest ones might, but for Win31 I tend to lean to Opera 3.62 and that won't do https. Ive not tried it on Arachne much, but it DOES work on Dillo. Also, older browsers lack PNG support. I think Dillo has it and I know Opera does.
    Last edited by Mad-Mike; May 9th, 2019 at 02:36 PM. Reason: Typing on phone sux

  3. #23
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    Just going to point out that Garmin GPS units from ~2007 used 386EX chips...so 386's were relevant till 2007 technically.
    Wanted: Any old clunky 286-P1 machine that has some kind of working battery or replaceable with off the shelf parts. Preferred: 10+lbs 386 machines.

  4. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by ph4nt0m View Post
    OpenBSD also lost 386 somewhere in the past.
    OpenBSD 4.3 is when 80386 support was dropped (in May 2008 ). So OpenBSD 4.2 (or earlier) should still work on a 386 system. If you are using a drive larger than 8GB, you should avoid anything older than OpenBSD 3.5.

  5. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by kgober View Post
    OpenBSD 4.3 is when 80386 support was dropped (in May 2008 ). So OpenBSD 4.2 (or earlier) should still work on a 386 system. If you are using a drive larger than 8GB, you should avoid anything older than OpenBSD 3.5.
    Frankly speaking, it isn't very difficult to bring the 386 support back for a particular kernel or distribution. It's a matter of motivation. However the whole distribution should be recompiled with 386 compatibility flags and repackaged. It's somewhat time consuming.

  6. #26
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    Correction: OpenBSD 4.1 (released May 1, 2007) was the last version to support the 80386.

  7. #27
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    One thing you can do with a 386 is use it as an irc client. Works wonderfully.
    Thomas Byers (DRI)- "You'll have a million people using the A> [MS-DOS prompt] forever. You'll have five million using [nongraphic] menu systems such as Topview, Concurrent PC-DOS, Desq, and those types. But there'll be 50 to 100 million using the iconic-based interfaces."

  8. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by glitch View Post
    You'd be better off running a proxy (transparent or regular) with "SSL strip" functionality and using old browsers. Getting just TLS implemented on old stuff would be a major undertaking, and with the speed of old CPUs, they'd probably be unusable.
    Which could also bump up against memory limits, since openSSL -- one of the leanest SSL/TLS decoders -- has a memory footprint of over 40 megs when compression is disabled (sucking more bandwidth) even when it's set to release buffers. In normal operation with compression and buffering it's designed to use around 600 megs all by itself now.

    So yeah, it would likely be better to have an intermediary machine handle things like HTTPS, at which point just use the intermediary machine.

    Things like UTF-8 decoding would be tricky too, particularly since that's the current standard for web content production -- anyone using Windows-1252 or ISO-8859-1 needing to extract their cranium from 1997's rectum. When you're talking a character set of over a million possible character "code-points", a DOS machine is going to struggle.

    At one point I was playing with the idea of a CSS standard for vintage 80 column text mode computers -- perhaps called as media="vintage" on <style> and/or <link>. If proper semantic HTML were used it wouldn't be rocket science to give some degree of control over style specific to such devices. I'm actually a bit surprised their isn't such a thing, but again 'terminal' access is laughed at by the PSD jockeys under the DELUSION they are "web designers" and the ignorant halfwits who think outright trash like bootcrap or turdpress are a good way to build websites.

    Sorry, started ranting. Day job is freelancing as a web accessibility consultant -- a job I'm thinking on finally hanging up my shingle over since financially I actually no longer "need" to work. I get 'twitchy' over crappy web development practices. That I had three out of the past five clients try to screw me over not just in the wallet, but in COURT certainly didn't help my attitude... but at least I can say they "tried" and not that they "succeeded".
    Last edited by deathshadow; May 15th, 2019 at 02:13 PM.
    From time to time the accessibility of a website must be refreshed with the blood of owners and designers. It is its natural manure.
    CUTCODEDOWN.COM

  9. #29

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    To answer the original question: is the 386 truly dead? As long people use in one or another way, PC, Garmin (as mentioned earlier), hobby projects, etc., it is not dead in my opinion.
    With kind regards / met vriendelijke groet, Ruud Baltissen

    www.baltissen.org

  10. #30

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    As Terry Pratchett put it, noone is ever truly dead until the ripples they cause in the world die away.
    Computers: Amiga 1200, DEC VAXStation 4000/60, DEC MicroPDP-11/73
    Synthesizers: Roland JX-10/SH-09/MT-32/D-50, Yamaha DX7-II/V50/TX7/TG33/FB-01, Korg MS-20 Mini/ARP Odyssey/DW-8000/X5DR, Ensoniq SQ-80, E-mu Proteus/2, Moog Satellite, Oberheim SEM
    "'Legacy code' often differs from its suggested alternative by actually working and scaling." - Bjarne Stroustrup

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