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I'm just trying to know if is there is a way to run the first version of linux in a virtual machine. Since I am very new to this, my aim is to learn something basic on how the first version of linux kernel was built and worked.

Is there any way I can do this? or it can't be done

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Why 0.01? Why any of the newer ones? Why not something like Gentoo/Arch/LFS? – Sathya May 31 '11 at 4:25
I don't think 0.0.1 did very much at all. Linus based it on minix functionality and I think he was on a 386 with IDE drives. I may be wrong though. – user3463 May 31 '11 at 4:46
Just try it. What's to lose? – Joe Internet May 31 '11 at 6:08

I was able to compile and run linux 0.01 on Ubuntu 12.04, just go through following link.

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I imagine that very early versions supported a limited set of hardware, and had very specific expectation about the boot sequence. You might try a virtual machine that came into being closer to the time the kernel was prepared.

Perhaps Bochs?

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It should absolutely be possible. But it is often problematic to build older software because newer compilers are stricter on the syntax. But this is no definite show stopper since you can always install an older version of gcc. Which in turn will require an almost as old version, so you have to gradually work your way back (or take an easier way and download precompiled binaries).

I'm not entity sure of this but I think early versions of Linux had a boot loader built in so it could be copied directly to a floppy. So you can probably start it simply by using the kernel file bzImage (or whatever it was called back then) as a floppy image.

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