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Old 06-16-2020, 11:45 AM   #1
philanc
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An alternate kernel for Slackware 14.2?


Obviously many Slackware users like the stability of the stable release. At the same time, several users face issues with recent hardware not supported by the stable kernel.

I wonder if a solution could be to provide an alternate, more recent kernel in testing/ or extra/ for the stable release.

I remember such alternate kernels provided in the stable release in the past - for example with Slackware 11, we had a default 2.4 kernel and a 2.6 kernel in extra/

Would technical issues prevent this for modern kernels? I don't know much about the low level graphical stuff. There may be strong dependencies between the kernel (GPU drivers) and the userspace (eg. the xorg drivers, OpenGL libs, ...). And so alternate kernels might not be feasible?

Maybe it is too late for this, because Slackware 15 is just around the corner.

I currently run Slackware 14.2 on my main laptop. The regular 14.2 kernel couldn't boot this recent laptop (black screen). I am happily using a kernel I picked up from current half a year ago.

I don't know if I was just lucky or if I could recommend this to fellow slackers around me.

What do you think?
 
Old 06-16-2020, 12:03 PM   #2
bassmadrigal
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I've been running a newer kernel on my 14.2 machine, pretty much from the day I built the machine. I'm currently on 5.4.30 and it runs without issue. You can easily compile a newer kernel on your computer (and I know some have installed the kernels directly from -current, but generally, I don't recommend installing packages from -current onto 14.2). I almost always use Pat's kernel config from -current (with a few minor modifications for my actual machine).

However, if the updated hardware is a newer graphics card, your system will need a lot more than just a newer kernel. It'll require a newer mesa and a whole slew of updated dependencies.
 
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Old 06-16-2020, 02:26 PM   #3
philanc
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bassmadrigal View Post
if the updated hardware is a newer graphics card, your system will need a lot more than just a newer kernel. It'll require a newer mesa and a whole slew of updated dependencies.
Has someone a list of all the packages that have to be rebuilt if a new kernel is installed?
 
Old 06-16-2020, 02:49 PM   #4
bassmadrigal
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Quote:
Originally Posted by philanc View Post
Has someone a list of all the packages that have to be rebuilt if a new kernel is installed?
I tried doing it about a year ago and it ended with a rabbit hole of needing to rebuild X (I had done the same thing on my old 14.1 system during 14.2's development cycle, and it ended up being over 200 packages). Unfortunately, this time I ran into some issues compiling due to -current removing .la files, even after commenting out the lines from the SlackBuilds that removes the files. I can't remember what the problem was, but I ran out of desire to keep tinkering with it and have left my system with the stock 14.2 graphics stack. I've had the itch a few times to get back into it, but have decided my time right now is better spent on projects around the house (my wife doesn't understand my itch to tinker with my system).

At a minimum, I think you'll need a newer libdrm and mesa and I think that required a newer libva and adding libglvnd. I also needed updated X drivers, which is what started the rabbit hole of rebuilding X.
 
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Old 06-16-2020, 04:02 PM   #5
philanc
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bassmadrigal View Post
I tried doing it about a year ago and it ended with a rabbit hole of needing to rebuild X ([...] it ended up being over 200 packages).

[...] At a minimum, I think you'll need a newer libdrm and mesa and I think that required a newer libva and adding libglvnd. I also needed updated X drivers, which is what started the rabbit hole of rebuilding X.
Ouch! I guess I could do with a current kernel in 14.2 without rebuilding anything because the new laptop has an integrated Intel GPU which was luckily compatible enough with the old 14.2 userspace...

Thanks for your answer.
 
Old 06-16-2020, 06:51 PM   #6
enorbet
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What? I am running 14.2 with a 5.4.40 kernel which I stepped back to from 5.5.12 just because 5.5.x is EOL. I installed many newer kernels in the last several years and not once did I have to redo any package. Since some mention mesa, that might be because I use nVidia graphics and don't need to worry about mesa, but still...not even one.
 
Old 06-17-2020, 09:50 AM   #7
bassmadrigal
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Quote:
Originally Posted by enorbet View Post
What? I am running 14.2 with a 5.4.40 kernel which I stepped back to from 5.5.12 just because 5.5.x is EOL. I installed many newer kernels in the last several years and not once did I have to redo any package. Since some mention mesa, that might be because I use nVidia graphics and don't need to worry about mesa, but still...not even one.
The kernel isn't the problem. The newer kernels works fine on 14.2. The problem for some is the graphics stack. When you're not using Nvidia (which provides its own graphics stack), you'll need to upgrade several to many packages to get an update graphics stack with support for newer cards. Nvidia provides its own mesa and X drivers. Upgrading those for open source drivers are pretty difficult when you have 4+ year old libraries.
 
Old 06-17-2020, 12:05 PM   #8
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Currently on 4.14.184, it's stable, not many changes. Same machine had at least 50 updates to 4.14.x kernels, never any trouble.
About the graphics:

xorg-server-1.18.3 (this one is official patch)
libdrm-2.4.100 (rebuilt and upgraded this to link kernel-source that match the running kernel)
mesa-19.0.8 (this is the last one which builds with autotools)

So, not much work I guess. This is for nouveau setup, xf86-video-nouveau-1.0.16 to be exact.

The actual problem which moved me from 4.4 was that 4.4 kernel only enabled 512M vram, while newer 4.14 enables 1024M vram on my GPU.
Never did I have to rebuild X to upgrade kernel, I think that would be a violation of do-not-break-userspace rule.
 
Old 06-17-2020, 12:19 PM   #9
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One of the reasons I switched to current was due to wifi card not being recognized. Then there was an issue
of php which was if i remember 5.4 which is no good for say Codeigniter4 and some other php frameworks.

If i was clever enough i might have considered staying with stable and installing php 7.3 + but why bother
when with current you can have your cake and eat it. So now my wifi card works and I have:
bash-5.0$ php -v
PHP 7.4.1 (cli) (built: Dec 19 2019 00:29:31) ( ZTS )
Copyright (c) The PHP Group


which has allowed me to update webs from a none maintained framework (5.4) to one to CodeIgniter4 .

I think i upgraded using slackpkg from stable to current around September 2019 and kernel is :

5.4.12

everything has been working fine since then and very stable . I think i will now just wait for 15 , since i don't want to risk anything .


I got my install iso from Alien Bob mirror ; if there was an archive of current iso's dating back to say September 2019 then i would definitely recommend the one i installed . Its nearer to 15 then 14.2 and has all the advantages and no disadvantages from my experience in using it . If i were a wine buff i might say it was a very good vintage !

Last edited by captain_sensible; 06-17-2020 at 12:27 PM. Reason: additional comment
 
Old 06-17-2020, 05:30 PM   #10
bassmadrigal
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elcore View Post
Currently on 4.14.184, it's stable, not many changes. Same machine had at least 50 updates to 4.14.x kernels, never any trouble.
About the graphics:

xorg-server-1.18.3 (this one is official patch)
libdrm-2.4.100 (rebuilt and upgraded this to link kernel-source that match the running kernel)
mesa-19.0.8 (this is the last one which builds with autotools)
I think I did go newer than that mesa version as I think the one I was building was not based on autotools. Maybe that's where my problems arose due to the .la files not existing with newer build systems and having a mix of packages with and without .la files (I'll be glad to eventually install 15.0 and be rid of that nuisance).
 
Old 06-18-2020, 12:50 AM   #11
elcore
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bassmadrigal View Post
mix of packages with and without .la files
I guess it's best to remove *.la before compiling anything new, since there's a situation where a package can link to itself.
What happened to me was the "package compiled on system with old version of that same package installed" thing.
It'd only work correctly if I did one of the following:

1. Put back the .la files from the previous version.
2. Recompile/reinstall the package twice so it can link to itself.
3. Remove old package before compiling new package.
4. Remove all .la files.

At some point I decided it's less work to remove .la files and compile without them.
Now I have cron to remove them if they appear with future patches, and edited a few build scripts to discard them from local packages.
 
Old 06-18-2020, 02:05 PM   #12
PJBrs
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This topic came up some time ago as well: https://www.linuxquestions.org/quest...rd-4175663343/

I'm running 14.2 on four different machines, all with a kernel from current and self-compiled updated graphics stack (my newest machine is ryzen with radeon r9, mainly for gaming). Compiling was a bit of a hassle, but not as bad as bassmadrigal experienced. Perhaps because I opted out of using glvnd, so I didn't need to rebuild X11, and I removed most of mesa-demos to enable a meson build without .la-files (but glxgears and glxinfo are included). It's been some time, but my packages and build scripts are still on-line. Let me know if they work for you!

http://floorenpj.xs4all.nl/slackware/

I do have 19.3 built somewhere as well, didn't try my hand at mesa-20.0 or beyond.

Last edited by PJBrs; 06-18-2020 at 02:07 PM.
 
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Old 06-18-2020, 02:58 PM   #13
bassmadrigal
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Maybe I'll have to give this a try again. I have an RX570, so it isn't properly supported with the graphics stack in 14.2. It isn't causing me any major issues (since I'm not doing gaming right now), but there are some minor ones that maybe this will solve.
 
Old 06-19-2020, 05:46 PM   #14
enorbet
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... and the above are just some of the reasons I buy nVidia and use their proprietary drivers. I am impressed with AMD in general both in CPU and GPU areas, but the simple truth is they lack experience and a functioning business model, especially in GPU, of supporting "alternative" operating systems. That does present some hoops to jump through for Linus and the kernel dev folks, but it is part of what supports vast R&D that results in excellent alternative support. So far it seems the proof is indeed in the pudding.
 
Old 06-21-2020, 10:10 PM   #15
bassmadrigal
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Quote:
Originally Posted by enorbet View Post
... and the above are just some of the reasons I buy nVidia and use their proprietary drivers. I am impressed with AMD in general both in CPU and GPU areas, but the simple truth is they lack experience and a functioning business model, especially in GPU, of supporting "alternative" operating systems. That does present some hoops to jump through for Linus and the kernel dev folks, but it is part of what supports vast R&D that results in excellent alternative support. So far it seems the proof is indeed in the pudding.
Really the only problem is when you're using a newer card than what's supported in your OS's graphic's stack. Running these cards on -current works beautifully and the card continues to work after every single kernel update, whether or not a completely new kernel series is used (how many posts have we seen of broken Nvidia drivers after a major kernel or Xorg update?).

There are pluses and minuses for each, but the above should not be a reason to avoid AMD cards.
 
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