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-   -   Broad question: Is kernel 2.6.9 really stable? What is the best 2.6.x kernel? (http://www.linuxquestions.org/questions/slackware-14/broad-question-is-kernel-2-6-9-really-stable-what-is-the-best-2-6-x-kernel-247882/)

jtp51 10-27-2004 08:16 AM

Broad question: Is kernel 2.6.9 really stable? What is the best 2.6.x kernel?
 
Question:

I know this is a very broad question, but is kernel 2.6.9 really stable?

Summary:

I could go off on an 'Alsa install' bashing, but it's not worth the time...

(Note: Does anyone see a pattern here with Alsa issues and kernel 2.6.x releases?)

My biggest concern is I want a solid 2.6 kernel for my Compaq Evo N400c laptop (yes, it's old hardware) and for my home workstation.

I have no issues now, building my own kernel, but any insight on which 2.6.x kernel to use would be very useful and greatly appreciated.

Thank you for reading this post.

neilman 10-27-2004 08:43 AM

As with anything, I'd just try it for yourself. You can also revert out of a Kernel with your boot loader. Particularly in your situation, when you're running on a laptop and one that is dated, at that, you may find that things work better/worse than what other people are reporting. And not only that, if there are any obvious bugs/issues, you'll be the good Samaritan to post about them. Just make sure that when you're compiling your Kernel, that you copy your kernel image into a new file name (i.e. /boot/2.6.9_102704), and just make it your last choice in your boot loader (i.e. in /etc/lilo.conf, make it your last entry). That way, you're not stranded if the kernel doens't load properly. Give yourself at least a few second timeout, too, in your bootloader to choose this test kernel.

jtp51 10-27-2004 08:46 AM

Thank you for the feedback neilman.

Have you had any issues with any kernel 2.6.x releases?

the_sLiDe 10-27-2004 09:07 AM

I'm using the 2.6.8.1 kernel (compiled to my needs) and its working fine for me! I find its much faster then the 2.4.26 i had before lol....:d

Chrax 10-27-2004 09:13 AM

I've been using 2.6.9 for about a week now, and I've had no problems with stability. The performance gain from 2.4.26 isn't incredible, but it's nice. Then again, I've always run a fairly light system.

Chris H 10-27-2004 09:50 AM

I went from 2.4.summat to 2.6.8.1 and fell foul of the problem with users burning cds. Recompiled the 2.6.7 and all is well.

BroX 10-27-2004 10:02 AM

I've used both 2.4 and 2.6 on my pretty dated laptop, and went back to 2.4 because although I don't really notice a difference, when analysed with hdparm -tT there was a performance loss with 2.6. Another annoying fact is that which ever 2.6 kernel I've tried, with Gkrellm I always monitor some background CPU usage. I mean, with just X and gkrellm running (as seen using top) it takes up 7% CPU. With a 2.4 kernel it's nicely 0%.

If anyone has an idea what could be causing this I'd love to hear about it! So far, I'm pleased with 2.4.27 :)

EDIT: I might add that the performance loss was also noticable with glxgears. (don't know the exact stats right now).

Bruce Hill 10-27-2004 10:24 AM

I'm running 2.6.7 with Slack-10.0 and cannot tell anything that makes it "faster"
than 2.4.27 at all. In fact, I'm having some memory issues and some sluggish
behavior in X that I've not had before and haven't pinned down yet. And one
of our moderators says his wife is having the same issues on her Slack-10.0
box where he just compiled a 2.6 kernel.

ALSA has always been something I've compiled from source, until Slack-10.0
put them in the distro. I'm running ALSA with 2.6.7 with no problems. If you
just follow the instructions, rather than a bunch of posts in forums, you'll do ok.
Look in this directory -> /usr/src/linux-2.6.7/Documentation/sound/alsa/
I think most people don't realize that the kernel maintainers and developers
put Documentation in the kernel. I didn't know until recently.

Recording CDs with the 2.4 series kernels using scsi emulation was really nice,
and I rarely if ever burned a coaster. With 2.6 Linus and company decided
to use those drives as IDE devices, and Jorg Schilling, who wrote cdrecord,
which is now cdrtools, is fighting everybody "tooth and nail." He seems to be
quite a hard head, and doesn't want to adjust his app to Linux. I used to love
to burn CDs from the command line, and experience the raw power, speed,
and multi-tasking capabilites of that interface. Now if I burn in cli with a good
52x32x52 burner, I can only burn at 10x, or I'll burn a coaster. And his docs
are absolutely horrible. Not user friendly. To get the correct performance I
must use KDE and that stinking K3b gui app. I've read all manner of posts by
kernel guys, and they're up in arms with Schilling. They also state how they
burn as a regular user, and not as root. Yes, that works, but either someone
else will have to fork cdrecord (cdrtools) and fix the things that Schilling is
unwilling to change, or we'll have to do something different. I have not tried
to burn in 2.6.7 using scsi emulation, because Linus and the kernel guys say
that's not the way. This is my main issue so far with 2.6.7.

I'm not an experienced Linux user by a long shot, but I can see that the 2.6.x
kernels are really a testing ground for a whole lot of new things. If you read
some of Linux Kernel Mailing List you will be quite surprised to see some of
the discussions. So much is in flux, and they're really trying new things as they
go, so my attitude is that if I want stability and a proven track record, I'll boot
2.4.27. But if I want to test the new waters, boot 2.6.7.

LJSBrokken I'm having issues, but this comp has a new SATA drive
which doesn't use dma like IDE drives. And I only used any kernel except
2.6.7 because of that SATA drive. I think tomorrow I'm going to compile a
2.4.27 and see how it runs. I can then check hdparm and see what it says
for my SATA drive (Linux) and the IDE drive (Windoze and Linux swap).

jtp51 10-27-2004 10:39 AM

I think LJSBrokken is in a similar situtation as I am in, in which we are running older hardware and the older 2.4.2x kernel versions is the best we can do.

Again, this is a COMPAQ Evo N400c with 512 MB of RAM.

I do agree with everyone else and with new systems, 2.6.7 and higher will be the way to go.

BroX 10-27-2004 10:49 AM

jtp51
My Topline Amicus 3200S laptop is from '99... not _that_ old I'd say ;)
PIII/668 Mhz, 256MB RAM
Slack-current & Fluxbox keeps it light ;)

jtp51 10-27-2004 11:05 AM

Ahhhh! Fluxbox, good point LJSBrokken.

I had not thought about that and I will give that a try in the near future.

Thank you for the feedback.

Quickdraw 10-27-2004 11:13 AM

have been running 2.6.9 for about a week now, stability it just as good as the previous kernels (crash free so far) as for alsa, everything sounds perfect...just make sure you compile with alsa built-in to the kernel (only problem i ran into to) as for speed improvments, havent really noticed a diffrence. It does handle my raid better though, i have gotten alot better I/O (might just be my imagination) only problem i have had is getting the ATI drives to work....havent tried burning any cd's yet, but after reading prev posts i might just give it a try to see if it works.

jtp51 10-27-2004 11:18 AM

Quickdraw: You compiled Alsa into the kernel for 2.6.9? I have had a lot of conflicting infomation on whether to compile Alsa into the kernel or as a module.

What made you choose your direction?

Might be time for a new thread for this topic...

Thanks for the feedback.

Quickdraw 10-27-2004 11:24 AM

yup, back when i first upgraded to the 2.6.8 kernel i compiled alsa as modules, but alsaconf would never detect my soundcard so i remember a member telling me that the 2.6.x kernels needs to have alsa built in....so all of alsa i set to built in and under pci devices i set my sound card to be comiled as a module.

Bruce Hill 10-27-2004 11:26 AM

If you're interested
Code:

#
# Sound
#
CONFIG_SOUND=m

#
# Advanced Linux Sound Architecture
#
CONFIG_SND=m
CONFIG_SND_TIMER=m
CONFIG_SND_PCM=m
CONFIG_SND_HWDEP=m
CONFIG_SND_RAWMIDI=m
CONFIG_SND_SEQUENCER=m
# CONFIG_SND_SEQ_DUMMY is not set
CONFIG_SND_OSSEMUL=y
CONFIG_SND_MIXER_OSS=m
CONFIG_SND_PCM_OSS=m
CONFIG_SND_SEQUENCER_OSS=y
# CONFIG_SND_VERBOSE_PRINTK is not set
# CONFIG_SND_DEBUG is not set

#
# Generic devices
#
# CONFIG_SND_DUMMY is not set
# CONFIG_SND_VIRMIDI is not set
# CONFIG_SND_MTPAV is not set
# CONFIG_SND_SERIAL_U16550 is not set
# CONFIG_SND_MPU401 is not set

#
# PCI devices
#
CONFIG_SND_AC97_CODEC=m
<snip>
CONFIG_SND_EMU10K1=m

This is an Audigy ES card. Works very well.

Edit: I never ran alsaconf. On four comps here with
Slackware, I've only had to run alsaconf on one of them.


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