The oldest x86 CPU that the Linux kernel helps nowadays is theoretically the 486. However is that this idea in reality true in apply? I decided to put this theory to the test in my challenge.
His website describes putting in Gentoo Linux on an “ancient” IBM PS/1 Consultant 2133 19C (launched in 1993), with 64MB SIMM-72 RAM. (Though to hurry issues up, he compiled that minimum model of Gentoo on a fashionable Thinkpad T430 launched in 2012.) “Due to the age of the PC, the BIOS only supports booting from the floppy drive or internal HDD,” so there used to be additionally some disk partitioning and kernel configuration. (“Must disable 64-bit kernel for obvious reasons!”) A 30 minutes video displays that it takes almost 11 minutes just to boot up — and 5 and a part mins to close down. “Despite the many roadblocks I faced, I was impressed by the level of support Linux has for ancient hardware like this.”
And there is yet one more added bonus. “Given the age of the 486 (1989 technology), it does not support branch prediction… Ironically this makes it safe from the Meltdown and Spectre attacks.”