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Old 03-23-2006, 07:50 PM   #1
linux-idiot
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kernel advice?


looking through LQ threads i got to think about the kernel im running.. currently im on linux 2.6.12-12mdk

on a quick google search i found out the latest kernel is now 2.6.16 - which made me wonder how out of date am i? is it normal to install a new kernel everytime a new one is brought out? if not how often should i be thinking to update it?

also a complete newbie question.. do i need to find a kernel for my distro or does "one fit all"

sorry if this sounds totally stupid but im still learning

thanks
 
Old 03-23-2006, 08:00 PM   #2
pljvaldez
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In general, you don't need to update your kernel unless you have new hardware which is not supported by the old kernel.

When you build your own kernel you usually just build it from source. Some distro's have specific patches they want you to apply to allow the distro to take advantage of some features.

Some distributions let you just install a new kernel package which is precompiled (i.e. install kernelblahblah.rpm) and it just treats it as a package.

I have recompiled my kernel just because I have a really old slow machine and needed to just to get performance increase...
 
Old 03-23-2006, 08:05 PM   #3
linux-idiot
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so unless i buy new hardware there is no need for me to ever install a new kernel ?

thats great for the laptop i'm on as its running absolutely perfectly (excuse the bad english :P) but i was thinking of getting rid of windows on my other pc, i've used linux on that before and it just refused to find my hardware (more than likely my fault) so i was worried about trying again. so in theory if the distro i download for it doesnt suport all the hardware in my pc.. but the latest kernel does.. i can simply just update the kernel and it should work fine?
 
Old 03-23-2006, 08:35 PM   #4
pljvaldez
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That's right, you shouldn't have to update your kernel unless you want new hardware support or some of the new features. For example when switching from a 2.4 to 2.6 kernel, I believe the sound features are different (OSS vs. ALSA). Or from the 2.2 to 2.4 kernels they changed firewall rules from IPChains to IPTables... Otherwise, if it ain't broke...

In theory a new kernel should help with hardware support. Note that there may be some hardware that support is just bad (like winmodems, i.e. software modems, for instance). Other support is spotty (like graphics cards and wireless ethernet). So there is a chance your hardware would be found with a new kernel. There's also the chance that your hardware still won't be supported.

Generally google and the latest Knoppix Live CD are the best ways to see if your hardware can be used in linux.
 
Old 03-23-2006, 08:40 PM   #5
linux-idiot
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i did actually download the lasted knoppix last night, i didnt even think about using it to test the hardware support on my other pc.

thanks mate you have been a really great help!
 
  


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