“This tree removes ancient-386-CPUs support and thus zaps quite a bit of complexity,” wrote developer Ingo Molnar when submitting the change on Tuesday.
That complexity has meant extra work for kernel developers for years, Molnar pointed out.
While removing 386 support will make life easier, it also means that starting with Linux 3.8, very old hardware will no longer be able to run modern versions of Linux.
“Unfortunately there's a nostalgic cost: your old original 386 DX33 system from early 1991 won't be able to boot modern Linux kernels anymore. Sniff,” Molnar added.
Linux creator Linus Torvalds, however, was unconcerned: “I'm not sentimental,” he wrote on Wednesday in response. “Good riddance.”
Production of the i386 ended in September 2007, by which time it was already obsolete for use in PCs. It had still been used in embedded systems, however, and in phones including the BlackBerry 950 and Nokia 9000 Communicator.
Linux 3.7 debuts
On Monday, meanwhile, Torvalds released Linux 3.7.
“It's been a somewhat drawn out release despite the 3.7 merge window having otherwise appeared pretty straightforward, and none of the rc's were all that big either,” Torvalds wrote in the announcement. “But we're done, and this means that the merge window will close on Christmas Eve.”
Linux 3.7 is particularly notable for features including multiplatform ARM support and 64-bit ARM support as well as heightened security, full TCP Fast Open support, and improved drivers for Intel and Nvidia graphics hardware, among many other features.