Very Old Computer

Ryan Thompson ryan at
Sun Oct 10 10:28:25 PDT 2004

Wayne "Thanatos" McBroom wrote to freebsd-questions at

> I got a hold of a Duracom 486/SX. Which FreeBSD do you think would
> work on it? Just trying to replace the 3.11 system on it. Thanks.
> Later.....

I suppose it depends on how much RAM you have. You need more RAM to
install FreeBSD than you do to actually run it. The release notes for
4.10 say this:

     1.2 Hardware Requirements

     FreeBSD for the i386 requires an 80386 or better processor. The
     sysinstall(8) installation program requires 16MB of RAM; after
     installation, FreeBSD itself can be run in 4-8MB of RAM with a
     pared-down kernel. You will need at least 100MB of free hard drive
     space for the most minimal installation; a more realistic minimum is
     on the order of 250-350MB. See below for ways of shrinking existing
     DOS partitions in order to install FreeBSD.

     If you are not familiar with configuring hardware for FreeBSD, you
     should be sure to read the HARDWARE.TXT file; it contains important
     information on what hardware is supported by FreeBSD.

If you're short on RAM, you can have great fun cabling the drive in and
installing with another machine, and then compiling a custom kernel to
select the appropriate CPU type and remove literally everything you
don't need. Then, tweak your rc.conf to remove all unnecessary daemons
(named, sendmail, usbd, and even cron, syslogd and the like, if you can
survive without).

- Ryan

   Ryan Thompson <ryan at>

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