Linux 2.0 troglodyte signing in

Michael Deutschmann michael at
Thu Jan 3 06:22:57 UTC 2008

Hello, mailing list!

Normally introduction posts are unnecessary in technical forums, but I
felt I should say something since my intended use of uClibc is a little

You may remember waaaay back with Linux 2.2.0 came out, there were some
cautions that the new kernel was a little bloated and maybe less stable,
so for the moment it might be a good idea for slower machines to stick
with 2.0.x for a while.

I run a do-it-yourself GNU/Linux on old "toaster" computers, so I
followed that advice.  But, since then my impression of the stability of
current versions of Linux has gone *down*, not *up*.  So I continue to run
2.0 to this day.  (It's also become something of a game to me, now...)

There are some challenges, however.  Current versions of GLIBC demand a
current kernel, and current versions of GCC want a current GLIBC.  So I'm
stranded at glibc-2.1.3 and gcc-2.95.3.  The latest versions of other
applications usually compile, but sometimes patching is needed.

Compounding this, I'm proud of my ability to cram all my root executables
onto just two bootable floppies, without resorting to busybox.  The
binaries on my recovery disks are the same ones I use day-to-day.  But the
space margin is getting thin, and a current kernel and glibc would blow it

uClibc offers me a way to solve both problems.  It gives me back over
600k of rootdisk space (before compression) while offering better source
compatibility than my ancient glibc.

While uClibc is advertised as supporting Linux 2.0, I did encounter a
number of serious bugs.  But I found them easy to fix, and now have a
prototype system running Linux-2.0.40 / uClibc-0.9.29 / gcc-4.2.2 which is
fully self-hosted and working well.

If the screaming about how crazy I am isn't too loud ;-), I'll probably
send most of my changes to the bug-report system soon.  Don't worry, most
of my patches are very small and some resolve bugs that are not specific
to old kernels.

---- Michael Deutschmann <michael at>

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