Multiple Kernels

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Multiple Kernels

Postby VerityProductions on Sun Dec 15, 2013 5:06 pm

Hi guys,

A major selling point of Manjaro Linux is the easy use of multiple kernels. I don't think many people release that just about any distro can use these, or in principal how this can be done with relative ease with Ubuntu and its derivatives (e.g. Mint). Even if this were just for the LTS kernels, I think it would make a huge difference.

For example, although Mint 13 is LTS, kernel 3.2 is too old to work properly with newer systems like mine (e.g. no wireless). Make it easy to add a kernel like 3.10 and it'll work for later models. I would imagine there would have to be a PPA for supported kernels, a script to add or purge kernels (one that ensures at least one kernel remains on the system), and maybe a nice GUI....

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Re: Multiple Kernels

Postby cwsnyder on Sun Dec 15, 2013 8:38 pm

You won't find ANY long term support distro which supports the 'latest' kernel, or even close to the latest. If you have bleeding edge hardware, you will have to put up with bleeding edge software headaches and lack of support. Even developers require SOME time to write software to support their bleeding edge hardware, and longer to debug it so the hardware drivers don't cause regressions (bugs caused in previously working software/hardware by the update).

Especially on LTS versions like Debian Stable, Red Hat Enterprise Linux (and derivatives CEntOS, Scientific Linux, etc.), SuSE Linux Enterprise Server, and Ubuntu Linux LTS versions from which Mint LTS versions are derived, kernel variations are a headache that they can't afford to support to cause breakages on thousands of machines.

If you want the 'latest' technology, you will have to learn to live with software and drivers which have not been completely debugged, such as Debian Unstable (a.k.a. Sid), Fedora, Arch and its derivatives or pre-alpha versions of one of the more 'stable' distros. Often on these distros, it can take 3-6 months after the release to public to swat enough bugs to make the distro release mostly usable for 90% of the users. That is why Debian has actually 4 branches:

old-stable=almost bedrock solid stable, has had 99.99% of bugs swatted after 4-6 years of debugging packages approved for use. Packages/kernel are getting long of tooth, but are still useable on most modern machines, especially server hardware. Was the stable release prior to the new stable release.

stable=very stable, good for at least 2 additional years of support after release date; excellent for servers or stable desktop use. All reported bugs have been squashed before release from testing.

testing=all packages have gone through extensive testing and debugging while in the unstable (Sid) repositories, but may have some outstanding reported bugs. Repositories are snapshots of the better packages of the unstable/experimental branch called Sid. The repositories are named after a Toy Story character for tracking purposes at this point in the release cycle. When all reported bugs are fixed, the repositories become part of the 'stable' or released version. The kernel version and package versions of all software are fixed during the package freeze portion of the cycle prior to the final bug fix cycle so that there are fewer interactions to cause regressions in previously stable software.

unstable= Sometimes called experimental, always called Sid. Bleeding edge packages direct from the upstream developers are released to the Debian developers and any users who want the very latest packages and don't mind reverting to older packages if needed, reporting bugs to developers and waiting for bug fixes in the next package release. Ubuntu and Mint, except for Canonical or Mint exclusive packages, are snapshots of Sid.
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Re: Multiple Kernels

Postby Previous1 on Mon Dec 16, 2013 11:12 am

In the case of Mint 13, you can at least get the kernels from Mint 16 (via backports)
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Re: Multiple Kernels

Postby VerityProductions on Mon Dec 16, 2013 3:23 pm

Well, Ubuntu 12.04.3 (LTS) now comes with 3.8, which Cannonical has made LTS. If there were at least a special PPA or something with stable LTS kernels users could switch to, then that would make sense.

Otherwise, Mint could even dispense with short-term/LTS releases altogether by allowing users to switch / add / remove supported kernels as and when they wish. Imagine downloading 16, and then switching to kernel 3.8 -- it has just become LTS! In fact, from that as a basis, the team wouldn't even have to keep up with Cannonical; just release the updated ISOs as and when needed (i.e. to save 100s of MB of updates).

What you have now is a semi (but stable) rolling release. I imagine that would give them more time to add even more polish on an already superb distro.

3.10 may have been a bad example; I came across this one when using Arch, and really like it! :P
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Re: Multiple Kernels

Postby xenopeek on Tue Dec 17, 2013 6:54 am

VerityProductions wrote:3.10 may have been a bad example; I came across this one when using Arch, and really like it! :P

We've been on 3.12 on Arch Linux for a while. 3.10 is a distant memory :wink: Anyway, the next LTS release is just a few months away so I don't think anything will be done for Linux Mint 13. As for the next LTS, the development team is reconsidering how to do the non-LTS releases after that--as Ubuntu now only supports those for 9 months instead of previously 18 month. Makes non-LTS releases highly undesirable. Something might be done like using an updated LTS base for non-LTS releases (Linux Mint is committed to 6 month release cycle), so with new hardware enablement through newer kernel.
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Re: Multiple Kernels

Postby VerityProductions on Tue Dec 17, 2013 9:38 am

xenopeek wrote:Anyway, the next LTS release is just a few months away so I don't think anything will be done for Linux Mint 13. As for the next LTS, the development team is reconsidering how to do the non-LTS releases after that--as Ubuntu now only supports those for 9 months instead of previously 18 month. Makes non-LTS releases highly undesirable.


Yes, that sort of thing worries me. I personally don't see how such short-term releases would be attractive to a newbie, or - I imagine - most other users for that matter. Not as a production system and/or replacement for Windows, anyway. It's difficult to fathom Cannonical's thinking and approach on occasion. Anyway, posssibly inappropriate from someone who's just marched in this forum, but I hope Mint does end up focusing more on LTS releases.

As for 3.12, mmm - latest isn't always the best, of course :shock: . When I get up to speed on the 'buntus, I'll develop something for easy kernel management and see where that leads me. Again, only Manjaro seems to have harnessed this so far, and it's a feature that left a strong impression on me.
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