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Re: kernel version

Donovan Baarda wrote:
On Sat, 2003-01-11 at 08:33, Rich Puhek wrote:

I used to do this, but now I find the binary kernels in the distro
better than good enough. They are fully modular initrd kernels so it
doesn't matter if they have every device available... if they are not
used, they are not loaded. They are also available targeted to various
CPU's so they are pretty tweaked... and they work on just about any
hardware you throw at them.

The plethora of kernel options have blown out so much that I don't have
time to research the merits of enabling or disabling all the
CONFIG_DOOHICKY features to tweak my own kernel. Whenever I do need to
compile my own kernel, I simply copy the Debian binary kernel's config
and only change the bits I really need tweaked. So far the only reason
I've ever needed to do this is to apply an obscure patch or driver

Most of the times I've seen people compile custom Debian kernels, they
don't work because they've missed some critical device.

The other advantage of the official binary kernels is they are much
smaller... than the source. Downloading the source just to compile a
leaner kernel is counter-productive, especially if you are on the end of
a modem.

Good point. Debian does make a pretty good effort to have a wide variety of kernels available.

Our situation is a bit different than some. We're an ISP, and are running fairly critical servers. Obviously, downloading kernel source is not a huge time problem for us. Given that I'll be running it on many machines, the effort is well worth it.

Since the machines are servers, they're pretty stripped down. I don't run any sound cards, don't need printer support, don't need a wide variety of ethernet cards, etc. Basicly I compile in the 3c905 Ethernet driver (also do a module for the 3c509, since we have a couple of them floating around, and might need one in an emergency), the necessary SCSI controller (or none, if it's and IDE system), NFS, automounter, ext3, and that's about it. Typically, vmlinuz ends up being about 900-990k for the 2.4.x kernels I've been running.

The lack of added options means that there's less to worry about configing. I've also repeated the process enought that I don't tend to forget anything.

The biggest factor is that I use Debian's tools. Keeps me from messing things up by forgetting steps. Also makes it very convenient to compile the kernel on one machine and install on another (so I tie up a general-use machine with compiling, not my webserver or email server). Another help is doing "make menuconfig" instead of "make config". I find the menued system to be easier to navigate without worrying about all the new options I'm not going to need.



Rich Puhek
ETN Systems Inc.
2125 1st Ave East
Hibbing MN 55746

tel:   218.262.1130
email: rpuhek@etnsystems.com

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