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Since I have already recompile a 18.104.22.168 kernel for my 10.0 version it would be safe to say I would go for the 2.6 when I get 11.0 version.I rarely compile a kernel and usually stick with the vanilla version. It might be a bite bloated, but I haven't seen a real increase in performance from the kernel I have recompiled.
Most of the servers I run are at home, so they aren't really that important, but even for a production server I would still keep the original kernels, just for the fact that if a server every did go down because of hardware failure, and you have to migrate it to a new server. There is better chance of being compatible with the new server, this could certainly save some headaches in the future.
Distribution: Slackware each x86 + ARM and Porteus
I use 2.6.13 since 10.2 all the time in 3+ serves, laptop and homePC
so it stays 2.6 in 11.0 (already installed)
I customize only: low-latency preemptible 250Hz and nosmp...
I leave it i486 and pached with bootsplash (for slackware advertising purposes)... ;-)
I'm long since on 2.6 (since 2.6.0) and i like it for speed, low latency and stability.
I don't thik 2.4 is realy worth to stay in at least 85% of cases: IMHO I would call it outdated rather than confident:
5. various new drivers and patches...
6. it's linux for crying out loud, if we don't test it they won't ever fix it.