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  #21 (permalink)  
Old 10th January, 2009, 03:14 PM
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So, essentially, after the .config file is finalized by the user, it really doesn't have to be redone ever, as long as the hardware remains the same and there are no other demands on the kernel to support anything additional. Or, perhaps if there are desirable options offered in a future incarnation of a kernel, correct?

If that is true, then it is worth every bit of trial and error time that you spend getting the .config right.
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  #22 (permalink)  
Old 10th January, 2009, 06:07 PM
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I wouldn't say that.

You can import the .config file and use it as your base for building a new .config, and even build a new kernel using your existing .config, but over a period of time options will change (some will be removed, others will be added, etc.) and so it doesn't hurt to re-examine your .config file periodically. You can run

Code:
make oldconfig
Which will take the configuration from your old .config file, defaulting all questions based on the contents, and then ask you about what you want to do with any new symbols. Alternatively, if you are certain you like the old .config options, you can:

Code:
make silentoldconfig
which will not bother you with configuration options already set, but will still ask you for the new ones.

Last edited by Gizmo; 10th January, 2009 at 06:08 PM.
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  #23 (permalink)  
Old 10th January, 2009, 06:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dsio View Post
Its hard to tell whether I'm imagining it or not, but the desktop feels very snappy. Like propperly fast. I'd expect that to some degree given how 'lazy' recent kernels have begun to feel but I didn't expect to notice it this much. The other interesting thing is that while playing world of warcraft on the RT kernel, the response time is incredible. It was almost laggy, the keyboard response, but now it feels noticeably faster. The part that surprised me was that network latency is also lower, while I was expecting the opposite.

The only quirk is that sometimes, and this is rather rare, but sometimes, a spellcast in WoW will be really slow, like 3 seconds rather than 0.001 seconds. Also that sometimes there is some odd behavior, particularly from desktop menus.

All of this falls into the subjective rather than scientific category and it could be the placebo effect.

There are kernel-rt packages for Fedora 10 and also for Ubuntu (I think its here https://wiki.ubuntu.com/RealTime/Hardy).

All rather interesting.
If ya got the time...Could you please define "An RT Kernal"
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  #24 (permalink)  
Old 10th January, 2009, 07:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gizmo View Post
I wouldn't say that.

You can import the .config file and use it as your base for building a new .config, and even build a new kernel using your existing .config, but over a period of time options will change (some will be removed, others will be added, etc.) and so it doesn't hurt to re-examine your .config file periodically. You can run

Code:
make oldconfig
Which will take the configuration from your old .config file, defaulting all questions based on the contents, and then ask you about what you want to do with any new symbols. Alternatively, if you are certain you like the old .config options, you can:

Code:
make silentoldconfig
which will not bother you with configuration options already set, but will still ask you for the new ones.
Thanks for that.

Actually, I kind of meant what you said insofar as I realize that improved kernels, like an OS itself, will offer improved features over time; but that really, the baseline .config file can remain intact, only adjusting it here and there to take advantage of the new features. But what you made more clear to me is how to make the work easier when there are changes to be made. It's certainly easier than I thought if the config utility can be told to present only the new options.

One question, though. When making changes, will the new kernel when installed 'respect' the old version in the same way that installing a kernel update from the repos does [for example, in menu.lst] keeping all entries separate so the old one can be used as a safety?

I noticed a field in General options that allows for a unique name tag to be applied to the new kernel but I'll be damned if I could make it work. Each time I attempted to use it there was an error in the compile, something to the effect that the name was illegal. It wasn't very important, seeing as I have only the shipped kernel and one newly built one; but in future if I were to build a new one I'm not sure how to name it if that function doesn't accept my tag.

@Daniel: this may give you an idea about Real Time kernels:
Frequently Asked Questions - RTwiki
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  #25 (permalink)  
Old 10th January, 2009, 07:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel ~ View Post
If ya got the time...Could you please define "An RT Kernal"
RT stands for 'Real Time', and an RT Linux is a kernel that has been optimized for real-time applications.

See, modern operating systems such as Windows, Mac OS-X, and normal Linux, are what are known as 'Soft-real-time' systems. When an external event (e.g. a key-press on a keyboard) occurs, an interrupt is fired, and the OS services that interrupt to get the data, placing the data in some internal buffer. However, the application that is looking for that data will recieve the notification of the presence of that data at some later (and arbitrary) time. This time could be microseconds or days, depending on the system load and the process priority of the application waiting for the data. In fact, under certain conditions, the interrupt itself may not get serviced in a timely fashion, resulting in lost data.

A 'hard-real-time' system ensures determinism for the real-time tasks, meaning that the real-time tasks are always guaranteed to get a certain amount of CPU time, regardless of what else is going on in the system. This comes at the expense of responsiveness for tasks that are NOT designated as 'real-time' within the system.

Last edited by Gizmo; 10th January, 2009 at 07:12 PM.
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  #26 (permalink)  
Old 10th January, 2009, 07:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ThunderRd View Post
One question, though. When making changes, will the new kernel when installed 'respect' the old version in the same way that installing a kernel update from the repos does [for example, in menu.lst] keeping all entries separate so the old one can be used as a safety?
As I've not compiled a Ubuntu kernel, I can't answer that question directly. The way the kernels are listed in the menu.lst file is a consequence of how the package manager installed them. Since you are compiling a custom kernel, I would expect you will have to manually install the kernel, by copying the kernel image into the /boot directory, and then manually editing the menu.lst file.


BTW, AOA's kernel is currently about 1.5 megabytes.

Last edited by Gizmo; 10th January, 2009 at 07:21 PM.
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  #27 (permalink)  
Old 10th January, 2009, 11:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ThunderRd View Post
@Daniel: this may give you an idea about Real Time kernels:
Frequently Asked Questions - RTwiki

Quote:
Gizmo:
A 'hard-real-time' system ensures determinism for the real-time tasks, meaning that the real-time tasks are always guaranteed to get a certain amount of CPU time, regardless of what else is going on in the system. This comes at the expense of responsiveness for tasks that are NOT designated as 'real-time' within the system.




Many thanks.":O}
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  #28 (permalink)  
Old 11th January, 2009, 03:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel ~ View Post
Many thanks.":O}
As an example we had to write a simple realtime kernel in C for a 68HS12 that ran a path finding robot. If it bumps into something it must reverse course instantly, rather than continue mapping its course, and if the IR sensors fall off of the track that's under it, it also needs to course correct before it goes too far off course to find its way back.

Things like that that need exact timing and do only a handful of functions which is sort of the domain of an RT kernel in embedded devices.
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  #29 (permalink)  
Old 11th January, 2009, 05:34 AM
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I really appreciate the contributions to this thread. What started as a simple question has grown into a lot of really interesting info..and with it a lot of the FUD has gone away, at least on my part. Even if there isn't an immediate need to build a new kernel out of necessity, actually doing it is a good exercise in learning about your box and becoming intimate with its details.

And unless you do something really stupid, it's hard to screw up too badly. Use some common sense, keep your current running kernel in the wings, and give it a go.
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  #30 (permalink)  
Old 11th January, 2009, 08:50 PM
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The beauty of linux is that it does not try to be a one size fits all OS. You are completly free to change it to fit your needs, even if it means modifying the code.

I am not too sure of the rescue mode or rescue CD options for ubuntu but it would definately be worth the time to find out what options you have available in a worst case scenario.
I build my own rescue CD's for my Gentoo installs. I can boot my CD, mount my partitions and chroot into my install for repair just the same as if I was within my installed OS.

If you take it slow and use your head, you won't have any non-repairable problems. Gizmo, dsio and myself should be able to answer any specific questions..
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  #31 (permalink)  
Old 17th January, 2009, 02:57 AM
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How's the effort working out TR? Is your machine coming up to speed?

After a brief stint with the 2.6.27 and 2.6.28 series kernels, I ended up going back to the 2.6.23.17 vanilla kernel. No patches on this one so far. For my needs the 2.6.23 series have just the right balance of interactivity, while still allowing a bunch of cycles to go to heavy CPU usage apps.

Might want to play around with the timer as well. I use 300Mhz for my desktop systems. Some systems respond better at 1000Mhz
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  #32 (permalink)  
Old 17th January, 2009, 03:08 PM
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Thanks for asking...As I said in my earlier post I built a kernel on the Zen source, actually I made a couple of them and each time I unticked a few options on the kernel that I didn't think I needed. It is most definitely quicker than the stock 'buntu kernel by a longshot. I won't be going back, although I didn't remove the stock kernel as yet as a safety.

Then, just for laughs, and also to make sure that I could repeat the steps in the process, I downloaded the Ingo Molnar RT patch and built another one based on a vanilla 2.6.26.8, using the same .config as I used in the Zen kernel.

All I can say is...wow. dsio wasn't kidding, and I would vouch that it isn't any placebo effect. Although I don't know how to actually quantify the "quickness" factor, I can say that it is noticeably so. Opening and closing items on the desktop, starting apps, etc, all feels snappier.

The only hiccup was getting the proprietary nVidia drivers and compiz-fusion working right; I got the latest version from the beta repos and after a bit of a struggle [mostly my own fault, I understand the procedure better now] I was able to get it working correctly.

All in all an eye-opener for me. I will never use another stock kernel again.
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  #33 (permalink)  
Old 17th January, 2009, 07:14 PM
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So like....I'm just at the beginning of the journey! I can dig that! ":O}
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  #34 (permalink)  
Old 24th January, 2009, 05:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel ~ View Post
So like....I'm just at the beginning of the journey! I can dig that! ":O}
I could only hope to follow you on that journey. leave a few crumbs along the way!

Ron
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  #35 (permalink)  
Old 24th January, 2009, 08:18 PM
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Glad of the company! ":O}
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  #36 (permalink)  
Old 8th February, 2009, 06:00 AM
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Say I have 3 kernels compiled and installed. I want to keep the most recent, and I also want to keep the one from the original install, but I want to uninstall the one in the middle because it doesn't get used.

What is the proper procedure to do that? I can't use a synaptic because the newly built kernel isn't an "official" Xubuntu kernel, it's custom, and it isn't displayed there. I'm also not too fond of package managers, I'm more comfortable with apt. Should I remove it manually, and what specifically should be removed? Or is there a way to do it with apt?
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  #37 (permalink)  
Old 8th February, 2009, 08:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ThunderRd View Post
Thanks for asking...As I said in my earlier post I built a kernel on the Zen source, actually I made a couple of them and each time I unticked a few options on the kernel that I didn't think I needed. It is most definitely quicker than the stock 'buntu kernel by a longshot. I won't be going back, although I didn't remove the stock kernel as yet as a safety.

Then, just for laughs, and also to make sure that I could repeat the steps in the process, I downloaded the Ingo Molnar RT patch and built another one based on a vanilla 2.6.26.8, using the same .config as I used in the Zen kernel.

All I can say is...wow. dsio wasn't kidding, and I would vouch that it isn't any placebo effect. Although I don't know how to actually quantify the "quickness" factor, I can say that it is noticeably so. Opening and closing items on the desktop, starting apps, etc, all feels snappier.

The only hiccup was getting the proprietary nVidia drivers and compiz-fusion working right; I got the latest version from the beta repos and after a bit of a struggle [mostly my own fault, I understand the procedure better now] I was able to get it working correctly.

All in all an eye-opener for me. I will never use another stock kernel again.
I didn't try a stripped down rt kernel, I used a prepackaged one, I wonder what the combination of both would be like on my machine. Might try that when I get the time.
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  #38 (permalink)  
Old 8th February, 2009, 04:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ThunderRd View Post
Say I have 3 kernels compiled and installed. I want to keep the most recent, and I also want to keep the one from the original install, but I want to uninstall the one in the middle because it doesn't get used.

What is the proper procedure to do that? I can't use a synaptic because the newly built kernel isn't an "official" Xubuntu kernel, it's custom, and it isn't displayed there. I'm also not too fond of package managers, I'm more comfortable with apt. Should I remove it manually, and what specifically should be removed? Or is there a way to do it with apt?
I usually just use apt under Debian, but it will still leave some files hanging around that have to be manually removed

apt-get remove --purge linux-image-<version>
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  #39 (permalink)  
Old 8th February, 2009, 09:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ThunderRd View Post
I can't use a synaptic because the newly built kernel isn't an "official" Xubuntu kernel, it's custom, and it isn't displayed there.
When you say "custom", do you mean that you downloaded a source tarball and built a kernel completely outside of the package management tree?

If so, no package manager will help you. Package managers of all descriptions can only remove files that they know about.

The files you want to zap are in 3 locations. The exact names of the files will vary, but let's say you have a kernel 2.6.28-rc7-git4 that you want to delete.

rm /boot/kernel-2.6.28-rc7-git4
rm /boot/initramfs-2.6.28-rc7-git4 (if you use one)
rm /boot/System.map-2.6.28-rc7-git4

edit either /boot/grub/menu.lst or /boot/grub/grub.conf depending on what your distribution uses to remove the section referring to the deleted kernel. If you use LILO instead of grub you'll need to edit its config and rerun it.

Unless your distro is brain-dead, /lib/modules should show modules in neat subdirectories named for the kernel version. If it doesn't, then leave everything alone.

rm -Rf /lib/modules/2.6.28-rc7-git4

Finally, unless you want to use them again, you can remove that particular set of kernel sources:

rm -Rf /usr/src/linux-2.6.28-rc7-git4
depmod -a (not strictly necessary to do this).

If you want a little reassurance, then rather than deleting these files, move them to another location (like /root/backup) first and try a reboot. If it fails, you then have the option of booting from a LiveCD and moving the kernel and modules back to where they were.
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  #40 (permalink)  
Old 8th February, 2009, 10:36 PM
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So you're using gentoo fulltime again now? I thought you swore off it.
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