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Lower-latency kernels?


I'm quite a bit tired of all those 20-second-or-so almost-freeze times when untarring a big file, filtering a bunch of mails in Eudora under MOL, etcetc, just because the kernel 2.4.18 virtual memory infrastructure is paging, sorting and freeing memory or whatever and meanwhile also blocking processes from running that aren't involved in the memory stuff (and hey, I'm having 256MB, so it's not so little ok?). I'm even suspecting that the X crashes I'm having at least every few weeks could be related to this, i.e. some time sensitive operation in the X server gets stuck because of the kernel slowness and makes X crash (because of some bug that would be hidden otherwise).

So my question:

What are your experiences on PPC with the various lowlatency, preemption and maybe also O(1)scheduler patches?
Which ones are working, or crashing, and which is the best for my situation?


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