Most current Linux distributions don't run on the Pentium 4, but it's nobody's fault, and nobody much cares. Intel itself confirms that only Red Hat and TurboLinux will install on the P4, but rather than this being a case of rival distributions being starved of vital technical information by Chipzilla, it seems the other outfits got the info, but didn't reckon the P4 was worth catering for from a commercial perspective, right now.
Which is maybe a reasonable point. According to Intel, the problem lies in the Linux CPUID database, which has only been completely updated in Red Hat 7.0. This should work out of the box on the P4. TurboLinux Workstation Pro 6.1 needs a small workaround,* but can be induced to work. Presumably the simplicity of this one means that the technological investment needed to get SuSE, Corel and Caldera to handle the P4 will be relatively trivial, but not many people have got P4 systems, probably not many are going to want them in this rev of the product either, so the Linux on P4 market at the moment can reasonably be deemed to be vanishingly small.
Distributions apart from Red Hat and TurboLinux lose it during the install process, effectively because they've never heard of the P4. The basic difference seems to be that Red Hat 7.0 and TurboLinux 6.1 have information about the P4 in their CPUID database, whereas other distributions have not, as yet. Linux vendors seem to have been given the option of using CPUID code supplied by Intel, or going with P4 support when Linux 2.4 rolls out, and the rest of them seem to have taken the latter route.
Intel doesn't seem to have stitched up everybody apart from Red Hat and TurboLinux, Linux users don't seem to be gagging for P4 support - small earthquake, nobody at all killed, as far as we can see. ®
* According to Intel, if you want to run TurboLinux on a P4 system you should use the following procedure:
Step 1: At the screen where it says "Confirm Selection" (after you pick what kind of environment that you want to install)
Step 2: Press "ALT-F2" to get to a shell prompt,
Step 3: Edit "/usr/lib/rpmrc" file and go to "Architecture Compatibility" section
Step 4: Add the line below to the Architecture Compatibility list:
Add this line To This List
arch_compat: i?86: i686 arch_compat: i986: i886
arch_compat: i886: i786
arch_compat: i786: i686
arch_compat: i686: i586
arch_compat: i586: i486
arch_compat: i486: i386
arch_compat: i386: noarch
arch_compat: i?86: i686
Step 5: Save File
Step 6: Press "ALT-F1" to resume install