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ELKS is the Embeddable Linux Kernel Subset, a project to build a small kernel subset of Linux (which will provide more or less UNIX V7 functionality within the kernel) that can run on machines with limited processor and memory resources. More information on the background, goals and current status of the project can be found at the ELKS home page.
The initial proposed targets are the Intel 8086 and eventually the 286's 16-bit protected mode. A kernel that can run on this kind of hardware is useful for embedded systems projects, for third world deployment where 80x86 x>0 machines are not easily available, and for use on various palmtops.