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I'm installing Debian etch. The installer asks me which kernels I want, and the reasonable options for my old box seem to be

  • 2.6-486
  • 2.6.18-486

(There are -686 versions, too, but those seem to be for Pentium II and up, and if the internets don't lie, -486 is for Pentium I and earlier.)

Which one should work better on my box, depending on what? Sorry if my question sounds dumb, but I think there is no such thing as a plain 2.6-486 version, I think all should have a third part of the version number (i.e. 2.6.something-486) and the 2.6.nothing-486 doesn't make sense to me.

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

2.6-486 is a meta package that points to the most recent version of the 2.6 kernel package compiled for that processor.

And no, 486 does not include Pentium I as the 80486 was the processor line before Pentiums. Pentium I would be 586. 686 is either Pentium II or III... I can't remember where the change happened anymore. However, there doesn't seem to be a 2.6-586, so the 486 package is used for old Pentiums as they're backward compatible.

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Thanks! So choosing 2.6-486 will be safe (your links says it depends on 2.6.32-5-468), and 2.6.18-486 was just the most up-to-date kernel at the time my netinst CD image was created? – zebonaut Jun 12 '11 at 22:01

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