Evidently tired of smooth running graphics, lightning fast processing and bags and bags of available memory, programmer Dmitry Grinberg decided to go back to computing basics. And then some. As Linux was developed on a 32-bit machine with 1MB of RAM, this has always been considered the minimum system requirements to run the open source OS. Dmitry, however, put this theory to test, building a barebones set-up with just an 8-bit RISC microcontroller at its heart. Running at a somewhat sedentary 6.5KHz, with only 16KB of SRAM and 128KB of flash storage, these are specs that make most phones look like supercomputers. To get things working, Dmitry had to write an ARM emulator so that the system appeared as having a 32-bit processor with an MMU, and it looks like a 30-pin 16MB SIMM was added, plus as SD card to house the Ubuntu image. Despite all this, he was able to load Ubuntu successfully. Sure, it took four hours, and that's after two hours waiting for the bash command prompt, but hey. Grinberg claims that the system is still useable, with the command line typically responding "within a minute." So Dmitri, if you're reading this on the machine, happy new year! Check the time-lapse video after the break to see it in full, patience testing, action.
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