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Ck Patchset Is Not “Quite” Dead :)

Published on Oct. 16, 2007 at midnight by XC

I was avoiding doing what I really should have been doing today by reading some of the Linux-centric newsgroups that I enjoy. I was very pleased to learn that some good natured Gentoo users are trying with all of their might to keep the (now famous) CK patch set alive and kicking.

Get the patch for 2.6.23 here , thanks to waninkoko it really does improve the desktop experience on older machines (like mine!).

For those of you not familiar with the CK patch set, here’s what it does:

Improves I/O by helping to stop bottlenecks before they start (swap pre-fetch is really neat). This helps to maximize the use of dirty paging as the ‘cushion’ it was meant to be.
Slightly-better-than-staircase CPU scheduling, making for a less latent desktop.

Con Kolivas (aka CK) became irritated with politics surrounding kernel development and moved on to other things. You can read about said politic in this interview. I’m really happy to see the community keeping the patches alive, they are truly useful.

If you use your free GNU/Linux OS to do things such as editing large files (spreadsheets in calc, anyone?), this might be a good patch for you, especially if your working with less than 1GB of ram and slower IDE drives.

I’m soon going to be pushing a “Tim” repo for 2.6.* with a bunch of custom patched kernels, I’ll be including a CK patched 2.6.23 in that archive. You’ll need Mercurial to get the kernels, but .. well .. if you can build a kernel, you can install Mercurial.

Category: Linux
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Linux 2.6.23-Rc8 Looks Good!

Published on Sept. 26, 2007 at midnight by XC

I grabbed a copy of 2.6.23-rc8 today and spent a couple hours configuring the build. There has been quite a few grumbles about the Linux kernel leaving ‘old’ hardware in the dust. So what, to my wondering eyes did appear to my old Pentium 4 and 8 tiny reindeer?

Kconfig (aka make menuconfig) seems a bit more organized. The last trees I was working with were 2.6.18 and 2.6.20.3 – I breezed through the configuration after a make defconfig rather quickly.
Less latency overall using the default scheduler.
Several needed improvements to ocfs2 (YAY)
Lots, and lots of ACPI fixes, suspend/resume on my machine seems to work without a hitch now. This was really annoying, every time my machine woke up, it woke up angry.
Lots and lots of virtualization options with much better help in kconfig, this is not news we all knew it was coming, but its neat to see Xen paravirt_ops in a kernel.org release.
Boot time was literally cut in half from my previous 2.6.20.3 (I use that tree often because its the one officially supported by ext3cow)

Now, on to the gripes :

Its too damn stable. No fun.
Either udev, or the kernel have some sort of issue. 2.6.23 gives me warnings that no buffer space is available, only during udev events. I’m inclined to think its not udev. I made this go away in 2.6.20.3 by taking out all of the debug and noisy stuff, then I got to see my udev warnings again. This has been reported with many newer kernels, in particular with Ubuntu’s udev package.

Category: Linux
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The Beauty Of Patches

Published on Sept. 24, 2007 at midnight by XC

There seems to be quite an uproar over the future of the Linux kernel. In particular, the adversity that Con Kolivas met when sending in his scheduler patches for main stream inclusion. Apparently, its causing quite a few rifts (and nastygrams) for and between Kernel developers.

I, frankly, don’t get it. Well, I kind of get it (I, too, have been called “terminally stupid” by Linus Torvalds) however I didn’t get upset, that’s just .. well .. Linus. What amazes me is a community of people now complaining that Linux is commercialized because some improvements for older hardware were not included.

Folks, Linux has always been commercialized, that’s why Linus wrote it. Linus hates the ideals and notions of free software. Linux is GPL2 because the license permitted Linus to ensure that his Kernel was widely adopted with plenty of room for commercial industry to help develop and use it. This sparked hundreds (even thousands) of people to send him improvements which made Linux what it is today. Linus had quite a bit to do with that process, he managed the project extremely well.

Torvald’s method worked, his Kernel is the only viable alternate to Microsoft and its (thanks to Dell) headed for quite a few servers and desktops. Linus is today’s “Tom Sawyer”, we all white-washed his fence for free. This was fine, we got a Kernel in the process. Richard Stallman already had the operating system developed.

Category: Linux
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