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Linux 2.6.23-rc8 looks good!

Posted on | September 26, 2007 | 2 Comments

I grabbed a copy of 2.6.23-rc8 today and spent a couple hours configuring the build. There has been quite a few grumbles about the Linux kernel leaving ‘old’ hardware in the dust. So what, to my wondering eyes did appear to my old Pentium 4 and 8 tiny reindeer?

  • Kconfig (aka make menuconfig) seems a bit more organized. The last trees I was working with were 2.6.18 and 2.6.20.3 – I breezed through the configuration after a make defconfig rather quickly.
  • Less latency overall using the default scheduler.
  • Several needed improvements to ocfs2 (YAY)
  • Lots, and lots of ACPI fixes, suspend/resume on my machine seems to work without a hitch now. This was really annoying, every time my machine woke up, it woke up angry.
  • Lots and lots of virtualization options with much better help in kconfig, this is not news we all knew it was coming, but its neat to see Xen paravirt_ops in a kernel.org release.
  • Boot time was literally cut in half from my previous 2.6.20.3 (I use that tree often because its the one officially supported by ext3cow)

Now, on to the gripes :

  • Its too damn stable. No fun.
  • Either udev, or the kernel have some sort of issue. 2.6.23 gives me warnings that no buffer space is available, only during udev events. I’m inclined to think its not udev. I made this go away in 2.6.20.3 by taking out all of the debug and noisy stuff, then I got to see my udev warnings again. This has been reported with many newer kernels, in particular with Ubuntu’s udev package. Still, it flies by fast and nothing is in dmesg, hard to tell.

I’m still not done tinkering, in all fairness, it takes a solid day to build the ‘perfect’ kernel for any system. For servers, none of my gripes would apply.

All in all, I’m pretty impressed :) At least (my) old hardware is still chugging along just fine, in fact, better than it was. I’m going to play with the schedulers and preemption to try to find the ‘sweet spot’ for my use, then on to a lean mean server config.

More to come in comments.

Comments

2 Responses to “Linux 2.6.23-rc8 looks good!”

  1. tinkertim
    September 26th, 2007 @ 3:50 pm

    All latency issues vanished when I changed the preemption model to make a preemptable kernel (low latency desktop), I’m using the CFQ scheduler and my PC has found its happy place.

    If anyone wants it, here’s a link to my .config:

    http://echoreply.us/misc/config-2.6.23-rc8.txt

    That is rather custom tailored exactly to my motherboard and processor type (generic Intel chip set / IDE / ac97), it might not work on your computer.

    I don’t load many modules, I took the time to browse through lspci and only build in support for the junk that I need. Modular support was used for stuff like netfilter / ipvs / some USB gadgets that I don’t use too often and crypto stuff. I have not used a parallel port in years, for instance, so why include it?

    Here’s whats loaded :

    dm_crypt md_mod snd_intel8x0 snd_ac97_codec ac97_bus snd_pcm_oss snd_mixer_oss snd_pcm snd_timer tsdev pcspkr snd snd_page_alloc

    I’m still not done, I need to play with selinux and get that happy, now that I know sound works well I can just build it in instead of leaving it modular.

    Nice job to all who worked on this release candidate, I’m so happy that my computer has stopped waking up angry.

    I think I’ll get my friend Paul to try 2.6.23 on some of his old stuff, I really want to see why people are screaming about no support for older stuff. My ancient P4 seems quite happy.

  2. tinkertim
    October 12th, 2007 @ 11:11 pm

    After further tweaking, I’m liking this release, a whole lot.

    Here’s what’s loaded now:

    snd_intel8x0 snd_ac97_codec ac97_bus snd_pcm_oss snd_mixer_oss snd_pcm snd_timer snd snd_page_alloc

    I have a very low latency desktop now, extremely responsive and no need for an initrd. Boot time is 18 seconds (from grub to prompt) and my computer no longer wakes up angry :)

    Thanks, Alan and everyone else who was part of this release.

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