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What is your oldest machine you ever installed Linux on and currently still run? What are the specs, kernel version or distro, and for what purpose?

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closed as primarily opinion-based by Ramesh, jimmij, jasonwryan, slm Jan 6 '15 at 2:09

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

This should probably be a community wiki – Marco Ceppi Aug 23 '10 at 16:39
This should probably be on a discussion forum. – postfuturist Aug 23 '10 at 19:36
Agree with @postfuturist. This is neither a problem nor an advice request. – Hugo Aug 24 '10 at 20:17
@Hugo, could be useful as a reference to which old device is still usable today. (Say, I'm wondering if I can do something with my old 486). – Elazar Leibovich Aug 26 '10 at 20:38
I found topic fascinating. Too bad I cannot share my answer. – Daniil Oct 9 '15 at 3:07

I installed redhat 5 on my 486 $many years ago.

Oldest machine I have running currently (openbsd at the moment) is an old grey dell optiplex I found in a plie of scrap at the University I went to. It's been running as my network router/firewall/wireless bridge/DNS server for three years now.

OpenBSD 4.7 (GENERIC) #558: Wed Mar 17 20:46:15 MDT 2010
cpu0: Intel Celeron ("GenuineIntel" 686-class, 128KB L2 cache) 399 MHz
real mem  = 265568256 (253MB)
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+1 for $many; nice – strugee Jul 10 '14 at 18:51

SLS distribution, Linux kernel v0.9 1992 era on a 386sx 16Mhz w/16MB RAM

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me too. 16 MHz turbo, 8 MHz normal – Quandary Aug 28 '10 at 19:53
what does it do? – uray Sep 8 '10 at 17:04

this isn't exactly old but it's interesting, and slow like it was old hardware

# cat /proc/cpuinfo 
  system type       : TI AR7 (TNETD7200)
  processor     : 0
  cpu model     : MIPS 4KEc V4.8
  BogoMIPS      : 211.35
  wait instruction  : yes
  microsecond timers    : yes
  tlb_entries       : 16
  extra interrupt vector: yes
  hardware watchpoint   : yes
  ASEs implemented  :
  shadow register sets  : 1
  core          : 0
  VCED exceptions   : not available
  VCEI exceptions   : not available
  • that's about 211MHz CPU
  • kernel version
  • 16MB of RAM
  • 4MB of flash
  • no:
    • hard drive
    • screen
    • video card
  • it has a built in ADSL Modem that powers my Internet
  • Distro is OpenWRT
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I have tomato on an old Linksys wireless router. Also not terribly old (from around 2005), but it's interesting to use vi, ash, etc in such a limited environment.. – Benjamin Oakes Aug 23 '10 at 13:07
I have it routing native IPv6 as well, yeah the power is amazing for such a small machine, but the 4MB of flash is a little small to do anything else – Daniel Hill Aug 23 '10 at 13:14

I have a HP Visualize C3000 from around 1999/2000, it was given to me last week. I have no reason to run it other than to tinker.

  • PA8500 400mhz processor
  • 2Gb Ram
  • Linux Debian 2.6.26-2-parisc

    # cat /proc/cpuinfo processor : 0 cpu family : PA-RISC 2.0 cpu : PA8500 (PCX-W) cpu MHz : 400.000000 model : 9000/785/C3000 model name : AllegroHigh W hversion : 0x00005bb0 sversion : 0x00000481 I-cache : 512 KB D-cache : 1024 KB (WB, direct mapped) ITLB entries : 160 DTLB entries : 160 - shared with ITLB BTLB : not supported bogomips : 798.72 software id : 2014670675

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That's a lot of RAM. – Tshepang May 18 '11 at 8:55

I have a 400MHz Dell box (K6 CPU, I think) from circa 1999. I've run Slackwares up to about 12.0 on it, but last summer, I put Slackware 3.2 on it, just to see what it felt like with a contemporary Linux.

Very interesting. I had to recompile the kernel (2.0.xx) to get support for a 3c905 ethernet card, and I recompiled XFree86 to get ATI card support. I was able to complie the latests OpenSSH with only a few glitches for remote access.

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I ran CRUX on a Compaq Armada with a Pentium MMX 166 MHz, 64 MiB of RAM and an around 2-3 GiB hard disk. Booted into an XFce desktop in less than 1 minute!

Just for kicks, I also installed Ubuntu 5.04 on that machine once (the whole thing, running a full GNOME install, Firefox, etc.). That was somewhat slow though... ;-)

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The oldest machine that I currently have installed is an old HP Pavilion desktop that I picked up from a repossession for $20. It's my main web, DNS, DHCP, NFS, CUPS and SSH server as well as firewall and gateway.

<<< 21:43.02 Mon Aug 23 2010|~
<<< aaron@achilles (Linux 2.6.26-2-686)|8171 screen:2
>>> cat /proc/cpuinfo
processor       : 0
vendor_id       : GenuineIntel
cpu family      : 6
model           : 8
model name      : Celeron (Coppermine)
stepping        : 6
cpu MHz         : 697.894
cache size      : 128 KB
fdiv_bug        : no
hlt_bug         : no
f0f_bug        : no
coma_bug        : no
fpu             : yes
fpu_exception   : yes
cpuid level     : 2
wp              : yes
flags           : fpu vme de pse tsc msr pae mce cx8 sep mtrr pge mca cmov pat pse36 mmx fxsr sse up
bogomips        : 1397.85
clflush size    : 32
power management:

It has 512MB of RAM with 100GB hard drive space. It's running Debian GNU/Linux stable. Kernel version is in the prompt.

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The one I'm currently running on is reasonably old.

processor    : 0
vendor_id    : GenuineIntel
cpu family   : 6
model        : 8
model name   : Pentium III (Coppermine)
stepping     : 10
cpu MHz      : 1004.123
cache size   : 256 KB
fdiv_bug     : no
hlt_bug      : no
f00f_bug     : no
coma_bug     : no
fpu          : yes
fpu_exception : yes
cpuid level  : 2
wp           : yes
flags        : fpu vme de pse tsc msr pae mce cx8 sep mtrr pge mca cmov pse36 mmx fxsr sse up
bogomips     : 2009.92
clflush size : 32
cache_alignment : 32
address sizes: 36 bits physical, 32 bits virtual
power management:

384 MB RAM, less than 80 GB hard drive. Currently running Debian Testing. I once installed AntiX (based on Debian) on it, and it felt far newer than it is, but then I began to miss my GNOME environment.

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