Mandrake CPU Requirements

Linux claims to be able to run on 386's and 486's and this is a big selling point in the promotional literature.  Mandrake Linux has as its minimum CPU a Pentium.  Why does this distribution of Linux need a Pentium and what will not work if a lesser CPU is used?
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Mandrake is complied with pgcc (a compiler which produces pentium code) It uses instructionsets not available on lesser CPU's.

NOTHING will work on a lesser CPU. If you want to run it on anything less, use RedHat (which is what Mandrake was, before they messed with it)

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If you need to run Linux in a 386 / 486, get Slackware, the best distribution there is. I'd also recommend you to install it on any machine, not only the ones that need it. It takes the best out of any machine. Not to mention it's the easiest distribution to deal with.
And i personally (as always) it seem, totally disagree with EatEmAndSmile.
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Suuuuure j2, that's one of the characteristics of envy. Tell me you wouldn't love to get the best out of Slack just like I do, huh? :)
You know.. Once of my slack 4 systems supports close to 2000 users mail / webspace. Another of my slack 4 rigs runs on a EightWay P-III XEON system, serving a terrabyte class database. I think i know my way around slackware.

BUT when a customer specifically asks about Mandrake, i answer his question, without the added element of "religion"
Ha ha ha I have nothing to worry about. I have a pentium, but it I were you I would get an upgrade or something.
You know, I can't avoid "making the difference". I won't let people bad mouth Linux only because they tried the wrong / frustrating distribution. That's why I always recommend Slackware.

 An upgrade? Nah, with Slackware, my K6-II 300 does much more than I'd ever need.
Ok, lets get back to basics here:

Mandrake will not run at all at anything less then a Pentium, since it is compiled that way.

If you want Mandrake on anything less then a Pentium, use RedHat which is the distribution of linux which is most like Mandrake, since Mandrake is really a modified RedHat. Mandrake is also afaik the _only_ distro that requires a pentium or above, all the others run on 386 and up.

(Not even EatEmAndSmile can disagree with this comment, as long as he leaves the distribution religion out of it.)
Strange, j2... I thought that YOU were the only always trying to disagree with me... :)

 Yes, I agree, it makes sense... You know, want Mandrake, get RedHat... Ain't those all the same? :)
I'll throw my ignorance into the fray here:

1. If you want a newer distro that looks like Mandrake 6.x but runs on your computer, get RedHat 6.x. per j2's advice.

2. If you want a newer distro that does most everything for you like Mandrake, but might run on your computer, try Caldera.

3. If you want a distro that IS Mandrake, and will probably run on your computer, and, if you don't mind somewhat "dated" libraries, try Mandrake 5.3.  I installed it on a 486 DX.

4. If you want to take the shortest path to a solid, reliable system that you can administer when things go terribly wrong following power surges, earthquakes, blown circuit breakers, hurricanes, comet strikes, mass extinction of entire orders of both flora and fauna, get some books, some cheap cd's of Slackware 4.0/7.0 and follow EatEmAndSmile's advice.

I don't really think this is some sort of religion on my part.  I was forced to design a computer networking solution for our small business with no background in computers. I spent 8 hours a day doing my regular job, and 8 hours each night and 16 hours a day on the weekends for several months to learn the rudiments of computer construction, operating systems, networking and system administration.  I still have a long ways to go, but I have the LAN up and running, and I'm waiting for the phone company to provide T1 access for our web site.

I tried Windows, Unix and Linux. As I shifted to Linux, I tried (all at once and in all sorts of combinations) RedHat 5.0, 5.1, 5.2, 6.0 (and recently, 6.1), Caldera 1.2, 1.3, 2.1, SuSE 6.1, Turbo Linux 3.6, Mandrake 5.3 and 6.0, Peanut, Debian, Stormix -- and Slackware 3.5.  I got surplus junk computers from the local college, repaired them and assembled additional 486, 586 and 686 machines as I could afford parts without borrowing money.  

Early on, I was suckered into the Redhat/Mandrake/Caldera mentality.  I was entirely unimpressed with the rather barren landscape presented during the Slackware install and I concluded that it was a less sophisticated distribution.

But as I added more and more boxes and got deeper into networking and system administration tasks (still on an expoerimental system) I began to encounter problems I couldn't solve on my own, and I couldn't find help and answers in the books and online.  

In frustration, I turned again to Slackware 3.5 and behold, things worked when I actually gave it a chance. Since Slackware 4.0 had just been released, I got the latest version. Still austere, but I had computers piled all over my basement, in the dining room, in the living room, RG58 coax strung all through the house and down the halls, across doorways, in my children's bedrooms.  And they all worked. Two days after my Slackware 7.0 cd arrived, I hauled a van load of computers from my house to our business location, and then made a second trip to haul monitors and printers.

The following Monday, I unleashed the monster on my business partners and our employees. And the system works.

j2 might argue, that I got to this point through my earlier experience with RedHat, et al.  I think I disagree.  Had someone like EatEmAndSmile pointed me toward Slackware and the Slackware forum early on, I feel I could have avoided weeks, if not months, of frustration and hair pulling, and rolling around on the floor, biting at myself, growling like an animal.

I hate computers.  I despise computers.  I only have computers because I am forced to.  I am only at this forum because I am always on the lookout for additional information.  I chose Linux because I didn't want to have to help the other non-expert computer users at our shop every 5 minutes. And I turned to Slackware, because I found it more reliable on more equipment and in more configurations than the others.

So, avoid the expense and frustration of buying every distro that pops up and start with Slackware and a pile of books.
Wow, this must be the most exciting Linux story I've ever read. You know, I've also passed through the hair-pulling situation when I got this job, because I've never actually installed a Linux distribution before and my previous task was to administer an ISP server based on Slackware, while the only thing they had here was RedHat. I hated it since I saw it. I was used to set up things straight where they are, with my own hands and I really had the skill. Not to mention that "driving" vi is one of the most exciting experiences in text processing. After about one month I could finally set up what was requested, an Internet gateway, with e-mail, www and ftp servers and a fileserver to join Windows and Macintosh. But the resulting systems were ugly, they were so slow... It even looked like Windows, because they were just as slow and they also had to be rebooted everytime. I then convinced my boss to grab a copy of Slack 4.0. In about 2 days I had built (never actually installed it before)  the exactly same solution, but ending with systems that would warm up / shut down in a few seconds and that can be just forgotten in their corners if I don't want to do any modifications... I've also replaced the RedHat that was installed on workstations that would take years to boot up for Slackware 7.0 since it came out. The machines fly, man... And they're only 486's... And most important, due to Slack's easiness of customization, they look and behave just like I wanted them to do, so they turned into perfect productivity machines.
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