Monday, April 2

Ubuntu Running on a Computer with 6.5KHz CPU and 16 MB RAM


Dmitry Grinberg has successfully booted Ubuntu 9.04 on an 8 bit micro machine with 6.5 KHz CPU and 16 MB RAM.

Grinberg did this experiment on a ATmega1284p, 8-bit RISC microcontroller clocked at 24MHz and equipped with 16KB of SRAM and 128KB of flash storage. Since the RAM was too low, he added 30-pin 16MB SIMM to the machine and a 1 GB SD card to host Ubuntu image.

Minimum system requirements for running Linux are considered to be a 32bit system with proper Modern Memory Management Unit (MMU) and 1 MB RAM.  The experiment was done to prove that Linux can successfully run on an 8 bit micro.

To get the world's slowest Linux Computer running, he had to write an ARMv5 emulator which supports 32bit processor and MMU.

How fast is it?
  • 2 hours to load Bash command prompt
  • 4 more hours to boot Ubuntu
  • Then, starting X takes more time
  • Once fully running, you can type a command and get back output within a minute
Check out time lapse video below:


A similar machine can be made very easily and everything should come in about $20. He has also provided full source code and a porting guide here.

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