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E.2. Supported Hardware

As a general rule, the 68020, 68030, 68040, and 68060 processors are supported.

For the 68020, a separate MMU (memory management unit) is necessary. The EC models of the 68030, 68040, and 68060 are missing MMUs and cannot run Linux.

For the 68020 and 68030, an FPU (floating point unit) is also recommended. A kernel-level FPU emulator is on the verge of release (as of this writing), but 68882 FPUs can be found for around U.S. $25 and will improve performance with many applications. Users of the 68LC040 can also take advantage of the FPU emulator; however, many of the 68LC040 chips produced have bugs that make FPU emulation unstable.

Generally, the minimum RAM requirement is between 4 and 8 MB of RAM; more RAM is generally better, though, and every little bit helps. Amiga users should note that Linux cannot use chip RAM except for the video, sound, and floppy drivers. The X Window System is usually comfortable only with at least 12-16 MB of RAM and an accelerated video card; however, it can run on the standard Amiga and Atari video modes with less memory.

While you can probably install a minimal Linux system on a 20-30 MB partition, for any serious work you'll need over 100 MB, including a separate swap partition. A useful approach is to purchase the largest hard drive you can afford and install Linux on it, and then watch it fill itself up. Many SCSI and IDE controllers are supported on various platforms, although the support is not as extensive as we would like because of the small developer base and relatively expensive hardware (the least expensive Ethernet card for a "big box" Amiga costs around U.S. $120!). All Amiga models are supported by Linux if they have the right CPU. Clones that do not include the Amiga's custom chips, such as the DraCo, are not supported at the moment; other clones, such as the BoXeR, may or may not work (we have not had any machines for testing).

Most 32-bit Ataris (ST/Mega ST/TT/Falcon) are supported although many people have had trouble with the Afterburner040 CPU card. The Medusa and Hades clones are also supported.

Macintosh models appear to be a hit-or-miss affair. Apple went through many permutations of hardware in the m68k line and not all of those permutations are currently supported; the porting work is further complicated by Apple's reluctance to release documentation to free software developers. In particular, Powerbook support is limited because of the different ADB (Apple Desktop Bus) design on those laptops. Even so, at least 27 Mac models are reported to have keyboard, mouse, and display support.

VMEbus single-board computers from several manufacturers are supported; these machines are widely used in industrial and research applications. Motorola's MVME 147, 162, 166, 167, 172, and 177 are currently supported, thanks to Richard Hirst. Richard has also ported Linux/m68k to BVM Ltd's BVME 4000 and 6000 computers and the Tadpole TP34V.

Other platforms have more limited support, due to a lack of people working on porting Linux/m68k to those systems. For example, only 25 MHz NeXTs are currently working.

For more information about support for your specific configuration (including expansion cards), consult the Linux/m68k FAQ at http://www.linux-m68k.org/faq/faq.html; Mac users may also want to look at the Macintosh-specific hardware support pages at http://www.mac.linux-m68k.org.

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