Linus Torvalds has backed the idea of possibly removing Intel 486 (i486) processor support from the Linux kernel.
After the Linux kernel dropped i386 support a decade ago, i486 has been the minimum x86 processor support for the mainline Linux kernel. This latest attempt to kill off i486 support ultimately arose from Linus Torvalds himself with expressing the idea of possible requiring x86 32-bit CPUs with “cmpxchg8b” support, which would mean Pentium CPUs and later.
I think that would be a fair call. It’s highly unlikely any modern additions to the Linux kernel are usable on a 486 anyway, so existing kernels which still have support for this ancient processor should suffice. On top of that, there’s no doubt in my mind that at least someone or some group of people will step up to maintain a special 486 branch if there is indeed any residual need for it.