FreeBSD-like linux distro?

Frank Shute frank at
Wed Jun 11 15:14:05 UTC 2008

On Wed, Jun 11, 2008 at 05:06:49PM +0300, Heikki Suonsivu wrote:
> Oops, sorry, I was not specific enough:
> FreeBSD 4 or older NetBSD are no go:
> The computer I am doing this is not old, it is otherwise brand new, but 
> it uses an embedded cpu, a 486 clone as SoC without math.  See 
>, eBOX 2300SX.  It is very low cost, runs on about 
> 3W of power with CF card as mass memory, 128M, 3 USB2, serials, sound, 
> etc, it has VESA form factor so you can attach it behind many LCD 
> displays, etc. They have beefier models, but this one is cheapest and 
> uses least power, latter of which is the more critical requirement for us.
> We would like to use it for certain control applications.  Linux works, 
> has been tested, but requires patches (turn math emulation on, add 
> support for built-in ethernet, bug workaround).

I don't know if this machine is going to be sited on an insecure
network or not. If it is, then you'll probably be using ssh. Without
a math co-proc to do the crypto, it will be horrendous. I don't even
know if ssh would work with an architecture without a maths unit.

If it can't work with ssh, then you might be restricting your market.

I think you are punishing yourself unneccesarily by going with a
processor without maths. You restrict the software (both OS &
application) you can run.

> The problem with is that while FreeBSD 4 seemed to boot on it, it did 
> not recognize any peripherals as they are new.  Old OS's are not really 
> what we want, this is not one-off but volume product, it will be 
> internet-connected so we need bugfixes and we need support for latest 
> chipsets on 802.11 cards etc.
> There is another similar CPU, even slower and less power consuming, I do 
> not remember the part number, I think it was about 100 MHz 486 without 
> math as well.  This was some manufacturer of microcontrollers.

Can't you find a manufacturer that makes something similar with a DX
instead? Or can you email this company and ask them how much it would
cost to run off X units with a 486DX rather than SX?

> Heikki



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