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Various kernel image flavours (Was: Re: debian on cobalt raq1)

On Wed, Dec 20, 2006 at 01:30:36PM +0100, Martin Michlmayr wrote:
> Thiemo, Peter, do you have any idea why a 2.6.18 might not work on
> raq1?  I don't see why it would work on some Cobalt machines but not
> on the raq1.

Let me ask a probably very stupid question:

Why exist so many different kernel image flavours in Debian for Mips?


I know about the endian issue. But apart from it, are the
subarchitectures really so different from each other?
Shouldn't at least all support MIPS 1 ISA?  

Even if we consider also 32 vs. 64 bit kernels (or can each 64 bit hardware
run a 32 bit kernel?) I count only 2*2 = 4 possible combinations.

Of course it's also possible that some images are very minimalistic
(reduced to bare minimum of driver settings) to be able to run on
limited hardware, is this the case?

I know from Intel architectures that one common kernel together with
a set of kernel modules is sufficent!

I did not found this information on www.linux-mips.org nor on Debian

PS: I own a nice SGI Octane (IP30) and compiled yesterday my first
stable kernel 2.6.14. (2.6.19 crashs during the first 2
minutes, at least after my manual patch conflict resolving). Together
with arcload I can now boot this system without Gentoos netboot images
(which did ignore the root= (and real_root=) kernel argument so that I
was always forced to chroot into my system. any idea why?).


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