Linus Torvalds wants to remove support for i486 processors from the Linux kernel
Linux kernel founder Linus Torvalds posted on the kernel mailing list his idea of removing support for i486 processors. The i486 stands for the Intel 486 processor, which was designed by Intel’s current CEO, Pat Gelsinger, and was originally introduced in April 1989 and was discontinued entirely in 2007.
The Linux kernel dropped support for i386 processors back in 2012, and now ten years later, Linus Torvalds wants to drop support for i486 processors as well. There are no other reasons for stopping support. The main reason is that these processors are too old, the devices used are very few, and there are LTS versions that can continue to provide support.
Linus Torvalds recommends that users who are still using i486 processors use the LTS version of the kernel, the mainline version will definitely stop support in the future. In the email discussions, some developers support the removal of i486 support, so there is a good chance this plan will move forward.
For most devices running Linux, this will not have any effect, since most devices are running newer hardware than i486, and dropping support for older processors could theoretically reduce code and improve kernel security. This legacy code has been left unmaintained for a long time, and no one knows if there are potential security holes.
According to the speculation of the Phoronix website, Linux Kernel 6.1 is likely to be the next version of the LTS kernel. If this plan is advanced, Linux Kernel version 6.2 may be the first kernel version to cancel support for i486 processors.