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#1 2022-11-22 14:06:43

Eisberg
Member
Registered: 2022-11-22
Posts: 3

Pentium II Support

Hello there,

I finally got around to installing  a new OS on my 1998 ThinkPad 770X.
I am using Arch on my Laptop so the distro choice was pretty straightforward, but I am having troubles with installation process.

The 770X has a Q4OS Distro running already, but can boot plop to add USB Boot support. That's where my problems (kind of) begin.
I picked the 486 ISO since the Pentium 2 doesn't include SSE and dd'd it onto a USB Drive. Plop has no trouble finding it and booting from it, but then I am greeted with a white blinking cursor and nothing else happens.
I tried using the 686 ISO as well. I can pick a boot option from Arch, only to get stuck at loading initramfs.

The Specs are as follows:
IBM ThinkPad 770X
Pentium II 300MHz CPU
Trident Cyber 9397 VGA
320MB SDRAM
16GB CF Card

I found a lot of threads regarding machines with not enough RAM, but they all were running Pentium 3 at least and had SSE support.
I know the 486 ISO is very much WIP, but was there a successful attempt at installing the OS on a physical Pentium 2 machine?

Many thanks for your time!

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#2 2022-11-22 15:04:59

abaumann
Administrator
From: Zurich
Registered: 2019-11-14
Posts: 810
Website

Re: Pentium II Support

The i686 ISO requires SSE, so that might not really work.
The i486 should actually boot, there is a isolinux/syslinux on it, so if you press TAB (I think?)
then you can add some kernel boot parameters like 'debug' 'loglevel=7' or so. Maybe you
see where it is stuck then..

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#3 2022-11-22 15:28:31

Eisberg
Member
Registered: 2022-11-22
Posts: 3

Re: Pentium II Support

That's pretty funny actually. With 686 I can get into Syslinux, but the 486 Image just displays a blank screen with a cursor.
Not even Syslinux boots with 486 and this is exactly why I am confused.
I was not expecting to get anywhere with 686, because of the lack of SSE, but it gets me further than the 486 image.

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#4 2022-11-22 16:24:30

benpicco
Member
From: Berlin
Registered: 2022-11-08
Posts: 12

Re: Pentium II Support

I had no trouble booting the i486 image on my Mendocino based laptop, which should be close to a PII (also no SSE).
I burned a CD though as I had no luck with Plop booting from USB (Plop would just freeze when scanning the bus).

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#5 2022-11-22 17:21:08

Eisberg
Member
Registered: 2022-11-22
Posts: 3

Re: Pentium II Support

I went out and got a 50-pack of CDs just to try it. Plop could boot the CD with 486 image, I got the Syslinux prompt and after a few seconds it started loading the vmlinux image.
I can hear the Drive accessing the CD, but it is takin it's sweet time.
I also tried using Rufus on Windows 11 to make a bootable USB with the 486 image. After a while I got an error msg that it couldn't find a path.

Extracting: F:\usr\lib\systemd\system\system-systemd\x2dcryptsetup.slice (454 bytes)
  Unable to create file: [0x00000003] The system cannot find the path specified.
Created: F:\syslinux.cfg → /isolinux/isolinux.cfg

I can't imagine it being a problem with the image, but it's still interesting.

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#6 2022-11-22 23:03:09

levi
Moderator
From: Yorkshire, UK
Registered: 2018-06-16
Posts: 1,179

Re: Pentium II Support

Odd. I thought the i686 was originally the pentium pro, and the pentium II came after that, but if you say your machine doesn't have SSE then I've no reason to disbelieve you. Perhaps the i686 builds are actually designed for something later than the PPro, or perhaps intel actually made some pentium II chips that came without SSE, perhaps for mobile use.


Architecture: pentium4, Testing repos: Yes, Hardware: EeePC 901+2GB RAM+OS half on the SD card.

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#7 2022-11-23 12:53:24

benpicco
Member
From: Berlin
Registered: 2022-11-08
Posts: 12

Re: Pentium II Support

Terminology is a bit muddy here. Normally i686 refers to everything that came after the Pentium (i586) but with Archlinux32 i686 means Pentium 3 and above as it requires SSE. There is just not a common name for this, maybe i686-v2 would work (and i686-v3 for Pentium 4/SSE2).

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#8 2022-11-23 17:25:28

abaumann
Administrator
From: Zurich
Registered: 2019-11-14
Posts: 810
Website

Re: Pentium II Support

The names of the subarchitecture have been choosen at a time in the project, when we we (or at least I) didn't know every little detail about the IA-32 CPUs.
And then we had to keep the names.. :-)
I'm not aware Intel ever made some ISA-names as for the 64-bit CPUs, that would have been very handy indeed.

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