Online / 5 & 6 February 2022


AOSC OS/Retro - An Introduction

An Ongoing Quest for the Possibility of Modern Linux on Vintage Hardware

In this presentation, I will share our community's ongoing exploration of running modern and "standard" Linux distributions on vintage hardware - AOSC OS/Retro. AOSC OS/Retro, as an official branch of AOSC OS (the modern-device-facing mainline), runs a generally similar feature set - systemd, Glibc/Binutils/GCC/Coreutils/Util-Linux,, etc. and shares the same source tree with the latter.

With over a year of spending our spare time on the project, tweaking features, designing a desktop experience, and optimising compiler flags, we have a usable distribution that could run on systems as slow as a 486SX, and as fast as "modern" Core Duo systems. We also have an active effort to port AOSC OS/Retro across multiple architectures, with the tally currently standing at eight architectures - and counting (alpha, armv4, armv6hf, armv7hf, i486, loongson2f, powerpc, ppc64). We still have a long list of issues to solve, such as login delays and throttled I/O on ISA-based systems. I hope to gather feedback and criticism through this presentation.

  • What is AOSC OS (self introduction)?
  • What is AOSC OS/Retro (and how it differs from AOSC OS)?
  • Design Goals and Self-Afflicted Agonies
  • Application Stack and Software Selection
  • End Results (so far)
  • Thoughts, Reflections, and Questions
  • Q&A


Mingcong Bai