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Linux on a 286?

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http://unix.stackexchange.com – I don't own a 286 nor do I intend to run Linux on one. However since the 286 has protected mode, why is it frequently stated that Linux requires a 386 CPU or higher? From http://tuxmobil.org/286_mobile.html it seems that the ELKS version of Linux can run on a 286, is this correct? What (if any) modifications have been made to allow the kernel to run on the 286 CPU? Now obviously I understand that a kernel compiled for a 386 cannot execute on a 286 CPU, which is 16-bit. So my question is, why cannot the standard Linux kernel be compiled for a 286, and then executed on a 286? Does Linux requir (HowTos)