Sorry Intel 386-DX/SX Owners, No New Linux for You!

The next version of Linux will not support Intel 386 processors. That's bad news if you haven't upgraded your machine in, oh, 20 years or so, but other than for the sake of nostalgia (and to give those old machines some real-world purpose), the discontinuation of support for old CPUs isn't likely to send shock waves through the Linux community.

"This tree removes ancient 386 CPU support and thus zaps quite a bit of complexity, which has plagued us with extra work whenever we wanted to change SMP primitives, for years," Linux developer Ingo Molnar wrote in a message to Linus Torvalds.

Bundy Computer

In doing so, Molnar acknowledged that "there's a nostalgic cost" and all those old 386 DX/SX systems from the early 1990s won't be able to boot into a modern Linux environment anymore (starting with Linux 3.8), but that doesn't seem to bother Torvalds.

"I'm not sentimental. Good riddance," Torvalds replied.

So that's it. Starting with Linux 3.8, those old CPUs that first appeared in 1985 will no longer be supported. Torvalds also considered removing FPU emulation support, which would knock out 486 CPUs as well, but ultimately decided against it.

Torvalds on Monday launched Linux 3.7 after a last minute delay that led to an extra Release Candidate.