A completely reasonable reaction to the news that the Linux kernel is dropping support for the 386 processor.

This article was first published in December of 2012 by Network World. It is a ridiculous article about a rather funky moment in Linux history. I am republishing it here because of the whole “ridiculous” and “funky” thing.

As you may have heard by now, the Linux kernel is dropping support for the 386 processor.

It's okay. I'll wait right here while you finish pushing over monitors, and flipping over every desk at work, in a nerd rage. I did the same thing. Get it out of your system.

I know, I know. Almost nobody on the planet uses a 386-based PC anymore. The first 386 processors started shipping in 1985 – which, according to some quick finger-counting-math, is roughly 75 thousand years ago. Heck, even many of the niche uses of the 386 processors (such as in aerospace) are being phased out.

And Intel hasn't even made them for 5 years. Still. I can't help but feel like we're loosing something important here.

When I think of Linux (and the Linux “cousins” like NetBSD and FreeBSD) one of the first things that springs to mind is “MEGA PORTABILITY”. (Sorry to type that all in caps. In my head that was shouted through a PA system right before two boxers duke it out.)

I mean, really. What's next? Phasing out of 486 support? Preposterous! Why not just phase out support for keyboards, monitors and being awesome?

Think about it like this:

The last time you downloaded a 32bit .iso of Ubuntu, the file name probably read something like “ubuntu-12.04-desktop-i386.iso”. Note that super awesome “i386” part. What will the .iso for Ubuntu 13.04 look like? “ubuntu-13.04-desktop-i-dunno-some-32-bit-processor-or-something.iso”? A travesty, I say! A complete trave… Actually. That would be kinda awesome.

Okay. I am convinced. For the sake of having awesome file names for our .iso's… 386 support had to die.


The articles here at the Lunduke Journal are often also available as a Video episode and Audio Podcast.

Ways to watch the show: LBRY, YouTube

Ways to listen to the show: RSS Podcast, iTunes, Google Play Music, Spotify

Ways to read the articles: RSS Article Feed.

The Lunduke Journal wouldn't be possible without the support of Linode. Linode provides some of the awesomest Linux server hosting in the world – sign up using this link to get $20 hosting credit. Which ain't too shabby.

Ways to support The Lunduke Journal:

  • Pick up a nice, nerdy T-Shirt over at The Lunduke Store.
  • Become a monthly patron over at Patreon. This grants access to the exclusive, weekly “Ask Lunduke” show as well as the “Lunduke Journal Quarterly” PDF.