MrSeb writes: "Hackers are masochists. Almost by definition, hackers push hardware and software (and themselves) beyond breaking point to find out, once and for all, whether something is possible or not. In Dmitry Grinberg’s case, he decided to find out the lowest spec possible for a Linux PC. Barring exceptional circumstances, Linux generally requires a 32-bit processor with a modern memory management unit (MMU) and more than 1MB of RAM — Grinberg, obviously not a fan of excess bits, has successfully booted Ubuntu Linux (Jaunty) with an ATmega1284p, 8-bit RISC microcontroller clocked at 24MHz and equipped with no less than 16KB of SRAM and 128KB of flash storage. Of course, Ubuntu wouldn't boot on an 8-bit RISC chip, so Grinberg had to write an ARMv5 emulator. The effective speed of the computer, after emulation, is just 6.5KHz. It takes 2 hours to boot to command line, a further 4 hours to load Ubuntu, and if you want to open an actual window manager, Grinberg simply says 'starting X takes a lot longer.'"
Nearly every complex solution to a programming problem that I
have looked at carefully has turned out to be wrong.
-- Brent Welch