Linux warns that it could stop supporting computers with a 486 processor
End of an era.
After its launch in 1989, the Intel 486 microprocessor was a great improvement over previous versions manufactured by Intel, providing performance that enhanced the execution of tasks performed on the computer.
Over time, microprocessors with features that offered better performance compared to the 486 emerged.
However, even after the Intel 486 was discontinued, Linus Torvalds, creator of the Linux kernel, continued to support computers that had this component integrated.
However, as in other areas, in the world of technology not everything lasts forever, so Linux is considering ending support for the Intel 486 processor.
The reason behind this decision lies in the fact that most of the users using the company’s services have migrated to more modern processor architectures. Added to that, the 486 processor represents old hardware whose operation requires the consumption of a considerable amount of resources in terms of development and maintenance.
Also, the drivers developed for computers that have this type of processor are not properly tested, which means that most computers of that time have been outdated.
Through a message sent to the Linux kernel mailing list, Torvalds pointed out that, although the 486 architecture was still in use, few users still use it today, and therefore he considers that its time to let the 486 fade away into history.
So with this decision by Torvalds it is expected that future kernel development will focus on modern hardware.
Some time before this announcement, the kernel development team had ended support for the 386 processor, the version prior to the 486, and which had been used by Torvalds to program his original kernel. However, there are still Linux distributions today, such as Tiny Core Linux, that can be run on computers that have the 486 processor.
It is worth mentioning that the 486 was the greatest exponent of high-end PCs until the arrival of the Pentium in 1993, which, despite having displaced the use of this architecture in PCs in the mid-90s, remained in use in the integrated systems.
After Torvalds’ statements, I can’t help but think that the days of 486 operation within Linux are numbered, although users who use this architecture will still have some options available to compensate for this loss.