Docs/Howto/Manbo Kernels

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With all the different kernels to choose from in Mandriva Linux, you may feel a little lost. Here is a bit of clarification to help you choose which one is right for your needs.

Contents

Mandriva kernels for Mandriva Linux 2008.0 and upper

Official kernels supported by Mandriva

These are the stable, stock Linux kernels modified with patches to address Mandriva's customers' needs. They are available in "main" and therefore in all Mandriva products (One, Free, Powerpack, etc...).

Since Mandriva Linux 2008.0 release, 4 kernel flavors are supported. Since Mandriva Linux 2009.0, kernel-laptop has been merged into kernel-desktop. Their names are rather self-explainatory, but here's a quick way to choose yours :

  • If you're setting up a server, choose kernel-server-latest.
  • If you're setting up a laptop and use Mandriva Linux 2008.0 or 2008.1, choose kernel-laptop-latest. If you are using Mandriva Linux 2009.0 or later, use kernel-desktop-latest or kernel-desktop586-latest.
  • If you don't own a "Pentium II or above"-compatible machine, aka i686 (meaning you own a "Pentium I"-compatible machine, aka i586), choose kernel-desktop586-latest.
  • If you're setting up anything else, choose kernel-desktop-latest (the kernel-latest is the same as this one, but is only there to support automatic upgrade from older releases, and will probably be removed in the future).

The Mandriva Linux is choosing the best kernel for your system, so the information above is only needed if you're upgrading the distribution using urpmi.

The different flavours

kernel-desktop586 & kernel-desktop586-latest

This kernel is compiled for desktop use, single or multiple i586 processor(s)/core(s) and less than 1GB RAM (usually 870-900MB detected), using voluntary preempt, CFS cpu scheduler and cfq i/o scheduler. It has HZ=1000, and tickless mode enabled.

This kernel relies on in-kernel smp alternatives to switch between up & smp mode depending on detected hardware. To force the kernel to boot in single processor mode, use the "nosmp" boot parameter.

This package exists only in the i586 branch. Installing the *-latest rpm ensures you always have the latest kernel-desktop586 installed.

kernel-desktop & kernel-desktop-latest

This kernel is compiled for desktop use, single or multiple i686/x86_64 processor(s)/core(s) and less than 4GB RAM (usually 3-4GB detected, depending on hardware) using voluntary preempt, CFS cpu scheduler and cfq i/o scheduler. It has HZ=1000, and tickless mode enabled.

This kernel relies on in-kernel smp alternatives to switch between up & smp mode depending on detected hardware. To force the kernel to boot in single processor mode, use the "nosmp" boot parameter.

Note that the memory reservation does not apply to the x86_64 branch (unless you hit a hardware restriction).

This package exists both in i586 and x86_64 branch. Installing the *-latest rpm ensures you always have the latest kernel-desktop installed.

kernel-laptop & kernel-laptop-latest
Please note!
Starting with Mandriva 2009.0, kernel-laptop packages don't exist anymore, the measured benefits/differences for maintaining it were not worth, it is advised that people using kernel-laptop in previous releases change to kernel-desktop.

This kernel is compiled for laptop use, targeting users that wants prolonged battery life. If you want to sacrifice battery life for performance / responsiveness, you better use the kernel-desktop.

It supports single or multiple i686/x86_64 processor(s)/core(s) and less than 4GB RAM (usually 3-4GB detected, depending on hardware), using no preempt, CFS cpu scheduler and cfq i/o scheduler. It has HZ=300, and tickless mode enabled.

This kernel relies on in-kernel smp alternatives to switch between up & smp mode depending on detected hardware. To force the kernel to boot in single processor mode, use the "nosmp" boot parameter.

Note that the memory reservation does not apply to the x86_64 branch (unless you hit a hardware restriction).

This package exists both in i586 and x86_64 branch. Installing the *-latest rpm ensures you always have the latest kernel-laptop installed.

kernel-server & kernel-server-latest

This kernel is compiled for server use, single or multiple i686/x86_64 processor(s)/core(s) and up to 64GB RAM (using PAE on i686), using no preempt, CFS cpu scheduler and cfq i/o scheduler. It has HZ=100, and tickless mode enabled.

This kernel relies on in-kernel smp alternatives to switch between up & smp mode depending on detected hardware. To force the kernel to boot in single processor mode, use the "nosmp" boot parameter.

Note that the memory reservation does not apply to the x86_64 branch (unless you hit a hardware restriction).

This package exists both in i586 and x86_64 branch. Installing the *-latest rpm ensures you always have the latest kernel-server installed.

kernel-desktop586-devel & kernel-desktop586-devel-latest

This package contains the kernel-devel files that should be enough to build 3rdparty drivers (such as Ati, nVidia) against for use with kernel-desktop586.

This package exists only in i586 branch. Installing the *-latest rpm ensures you always have the latest kernel-desktop586-devel installed.

kernel-desktop-devel & kernel-desktop-devel-latest

This package contains the kernel-devel files that should be enough to build 3rdparty drivers (such as Ati, nVidia) against for use with kernel-desktop.

This package exists in both i586 and x86_64 branch. Installing the *-latest rpm ensures you always have the latest kernel-desktop-devel installed.

kernel-laptop-devel & kernel-laptop-devel-latest

This package contains the kernel-devel files that should be enough to build 3rdparty drivers (such as Ati, nVidia) against for use with kernel-laptop.

This package exists in both i586 and x86_64 branch. Installing the *-latest rpm ensures you always have the latest kernel-laptop-devel installed.

kernel-server-devel & kernel-server-devel-latest

This package contains the kernel-devel files that should be enough to build third party drivers (such as ATI, NVIDIA) against for use with kernel-server.

This package exists in both i586 and x86_64 branch. Installing the *-latest rpm ensures you always have the latest kernel-server-devel installed.

kernel-source & kernel-source-latest

The kernel-source package contains the source code files for the Mandriva Linux kernel. Theese source files are only needed if you want to build your own custom kernel that is better tuned to your particular hardware.

If you only want the files needed to build third party (ATI, NVIDIA, ...). drivers against, install the *-devel-* rpms that is matching your kernel.

This package exists in both i586 and x86_64 branch. Installing the *-latest rpm ensures you always have the latest kernel-source installed.

kernel-doc

This package contains documentation files from the kernel source. Various bits of information about the Linux kernel and the device drivers shipped with it are documented in these files. You also might want install this package if you need a reference to the options that can be passed to Linux kernel modules at load time.

Other kernels supported by contributors

kernel-kerrighed

This is the vanilla kernel with Kerrighed patches.

These patches adds Kerrighed clustering support.

Packages:

  • kernel-kerrighed
  • kernel-kerrighed-latest
  • kernel-kerrighed-devel
  • kernel-kerrighed-devel-latest
  • kernel-kerrighed-source
  • kernel-kerrighed-source-latest

Available in "contrib", and not included by default on the downloadable ISO images.

kernel-linus

This is the vanilla kernel with no external patches.

This is the latest version of the Linux kernel. Since this kernel follows the latest release candidates from kernel.org, it may contain bugfixes or new hardware support that is not yet included in the Mandriva kernels. However, and since it is very new, it is less well tested.

A good base for developing and testing kernel patches without fearing conflicts, as there are no patches applied at all besides the upstream -rc patches (and sometimes the -rc*-git patches).

Typically the kernel carries a name in the form of "kernel-linus-2.6.24-0.rc6.2mdv", indicating the Linux kernel release ("2.6.24-rc6"). The release version of this kernel is 2mdv.

Available in "contrib", and not included by default on the downloadable ISO images.

kernel-linus & kernel-linus-latest

This kernel is compiled for single i686/x86_64 processor/core and less than 4GB RAM (usually 3-4GB detected, depending on hardware) using no preempt, CFS cpu scheduler and cfq i/o scheduler. It has HZ=250, and tickless mode enabled.

Note that the memory reservation does not apply to the x86_64 branch (unless you hit a hardware restriction).

This package exists both in i586 and x86_64 branch. The *-latest rpm is for making sure you always have the latest kernel-linus installed.

kernel-linus-smp & kernel-linus-smp-latest

This kernel is compiled for multiple i686/x86_64 processors/cores and less than 4GB RAM (usually 3-4GB detected, depending on hardware) using no preempt, CFS cpu scheduler and cfq i/o scheduler. It has HZ=250, and tickless mode enabled.

Note that the memory reservation does not apply to the x86_64 branch (unless you hit a hardware restriction).

This package exists both in i586 and x86_64 branch. The *-latest rpm is for making sure you always have the latest kernel-linus-smp installed.

kernel-linus-devel & kernel-linus-devel-latest

This package contains the kernel-devel files that should be enough to build 3rdparty drivers (such as Ati, nVidia) against for use with kernel-linus.

This package exists in both i586 and x86_64 branch. The *-latest rpm is for making sure you always have the latest kernel-linus-devel installed.

kernel-linus-smp-devel & kernel-linus-smp-devel-latest

This package contains the kernel-devel files that should be enough to build 3rdparty drivers (such as Ati, nVidia) against for use with kernel-linus-smp.

This package exists in both i586 and x86_64 branch. The *-latest rpm is for making sure you always have the latest kernel-linus-smp-devel installed.

kernel-linus-source & kernel-linus-source-latest

The kernel-linus-source package contains the source code files for the kernel.org Linux kernel. These source files are only needed if you want to build your own custom kernel that is better tuned to your particular hardware.

If you only want the files needed to build 3rdparty (Ati, nVidia, ...) drivers against, install the *-devel-* rpms that is matching your kernel.

This package exists in both i586 and x86_64 branch. The *-latest rpm is for making sure you always have the latest kernel-linus-source installed.

kernel-mm

This is the vanilla kernel with Andrew Morton's mm patches:

The mm patches contain a lot of patches pending for acceptance, so this kernel could be quite unstable. But it's also a good base for developing and testing kernel.

It has the same naming layout as kernel-linus (just substitute "linus" with "mm")

An explanation of the versioning: kernel-mm-2.6.24-0.rc6.mm1.2mdv

  • Based on kernel.org 2.6.24-rc6
  • Andrews mm1 patch
  • Release 2mdv

Available in "contrib", and not included by default on the downloadable ISO images.

kernel-multimedia

These kernels are available on 32 and 64bits x86 computers. In addition, a version is available for 32 bits powerpc processors.

Available in "contrib", and not included by default on the downloadable ISO images.

kernel-multimedia-desktop
  • a kernel with many additional patches on top of the mandriva kernel.

i686-optimized, single processor, highmem support up to 4GB. There is also an version available that supports machines with multiple processors: kernel-multimedia-desktop-smp

Usually the standard Mandriva kernel with patches that optimize it for multimedia use, such as for sound tools that require as low latency (roughly speaking, response time) from the kernel as possible. In general these modifications will also make your desktop feel more responsive, although the drawback is that the raw performance (for instance when compiling) is a little bit reduced. This kernel includes the patches based on Con Kolivas work, which can be found here:

For applications that can make use of it, (near) realtime performance is provided by a special module can be loaded into the kernel as explain in the readme file shown on install.

The kernel also includes some other features that are currently not supported in the default kernels:

  • Reiserfs4 support: A new, fast, and very advanced filesystem. However, it is currently still a bit untested. Use backups if you use this.
  • Suspend2 support: A reimplementation of software suspend (suspend to disk). You need the hibernate package, also available from contrib, to use this feature. Suspend2 may work on machines were suspend1 has problems. It is also faster and supports a user-interface (not included in Mandriva Linux at this moment).

Several modules that are available through dkms are included by default in the multimedia kernel (omnibook drivers, spca5xx, qc-usb, etc).

This kernel will occasionally lag behind the current Mandriva version due to the interaction between the multimedia patches and the ones already in the Mandriva kernel. However, it is your best choice to use for a multimedia machine: sound mixing, playing the latest games, and more.

Typically the kernel carries a name in the form of "kernel-multimedia-2.6.17.13-desktop-1mdv". The numbers indicate the Linux kernel release ("2.6.17.13"), flavour ("desktop") and the release number is "1mdv".

kernel-multimedia-laptop
  • a kernel with many additional patches on top of the mandriva kernel.

i686-optimized, single processor, highmem support up to 4GB. There is also an version available that supports machines with multiple processors: kernel-multimedia-laptop-smp

Usually the standard Mandriva kernel with patches that optimize it for multimedia use. In contains the same patches as the desktop kernel mentioned above. However, it is not configured to reach the same levels of low-latency as provided by the desktop variant. Instead, this kernel contains some settings which make it more energy efficient, and excludes some features that are not, or rarely, useful on laptop computers. This kernel includes also the patches based on Con Kolivas work, which can be found here:

The kernel also includes some other features that are currently not supported in the default kernels:

  • Reiserfs4 support: A new, fast, and very advanced filesystem. However, it is currently still a bit untested. Use backups if you use this.
  • Suspend2 support: A reimplementation of software suspend (suspend to disk). You need the hibernate package, also available from contrib, to use this feature. Suspend2 may work on machines were suspend1 has problems. It is also faster and supports a user-interface (not included in Mandriva Linux at this moment).

Several modules that are available through dkms are included by default in the multimedia kernel (omnibook drivers, spca5xx, qc-usb, etc).

This kernel will occasionally lag behind the current Mandriva version due to the interaction between the multimedia patches and the ones already in the Mandriva kernel. However, it is your best choice to use a responsive desktop on a laptop machine.

Typically the kernel carries a name in the form of "kernel-multimedia-2.6.17.13-laptop-1mdv". The numbers indicate the Linux kernel release ("2.6.17.13"), flavour ("laptop") and the release number is "1mdv".

kernel-rt

This is the vanilla kernel with rt patches.

These patches add true realtime to the kernel.

It has the same naming layout as kernel-linus (just substitute "linus" with "rt")

An explanation of the versioning: kernel-rt-2.6.24-0.rc5.rt1.2mdv

  • Based on kernel.org 2.6.24-rc5
  • Realtime rt1 patch
  • Release 2mdv

Available in "contrib", and not included by default on the downloadable ISO images.

kernel-tmb

Based on the standard kernel.org kernel and Mandriva main kernel, this kernel provides even more patches. It's a good solution to try if your hardware isn't supported by the normal Mandriva Linux installation before resorting to compiling your own kernel.

The patches in this kernel can be considered as yet too experimental to be offically merged into the 2.6 kernel, yet stable enough for general release. This kernel is a potential indicator of what patches _may_ eventually make it into the stable Mandriva kernel.

It has the same naming layout as main kernel (in reality it was main kernel that copied the *tmb* kernels naming scheme)

A few features of the kernel-tmb series that makes it different from main kernels:

  • supports Reiser4 filesystem
  • Supports TuxOnIce (formerly known as Suspend2)
  • newer kernel.org versions will be backported to older Mandriva Releases

Available in "contrib", and not included by default on the downloadable ISO images.

kernel-vserver

This is the vanilla kernel with VServer patches.

These patches adds VServer virtualization support.

Packages:

  • kernel-vserver
  • kernel-vserver-latest
  • kernel-vserver-devel
  • kernel-vserver-devel-latest
  • kernel-vserver-source
  • kernel-vserver-source-latest

Available in "contrib", and not included by default on the downloadable ISO images.

kernel-netbook

This is a kernel package with optimizations and patches intended for netbook based hardware.

Available in "contrib", and not included by default on the downloadable ISO images.

kernel-netbook & kernel-netbook-latest

This kernel is compiled for multiple i686/x86_64 processors/cores and less than 4GB RAM (usually 3-4GB detected, depending on hardware) using voluntary preempt, CFS cpu scheduler and cfq i/o scheduler. It has HZ=1000, and tickless mode enabled.

Note that the memory reservation does not apply to the x86_64 branch (unless you hit a hardware restriction).

This kernel relies on in-kernel smp alternatives to switch between up & smp mode depending on detected hardware. To force the kernel to boot in single processor mode, use the "nosmp" boot parameter.

This package exists both in i586 and x86_64 branch. The *-latest rpm is for making sure you always have the latest kernel-netbook installed.

kernel-netbook-devel & kernel-netbook-devel-latest

This package contains the kernel-devel files that should be enough to build 3rdparty drivers (such as Ati, nVidia) against for use with kernel-netbook.

This package exists in both i586 and x86_64 branch. The *-latest rpm is for making sure you always have the latest kernel-netbook-devel installed.

kernel-netbook-source & kernel-netbook-source-latest

The kernel-netbook-source package contains the source code files for the kernel.org Linux kernel. These source files are only needed if you want to build your own custom kernel that is better tuned to your particular hardware.

If you only want the files needed to build 3rdparty (Ati, nVidia, ...) drivers against, install the *-devel-* rpms that is matching your kernel.

This package exists in both i586 and x86_64 branch. The *-latest rpm is for making sure you always have the latest kernel-netbook-source installed.

Kernel flavors for past Mandriva releases (before 2008.0)

kernel-2.6.*

The standard Mandriva kernel

Available in "main", and therefore in the Standard Edition and downloaded ISO images.

i686-optimised, multiple processor support (SMP), and highmem support (up to 4 GB of memory).

This is the stable, stock Linux kernel modified with patches to address Mandriva's customers' needs.

Typically the kernel carries a name in the form of "kernel-2.6.17.5mdv", indicating the Linux kernel release ("2.6.17"), and the Mandriva patch release ("5").

Unfortunately, the version number doesn't indicate the sub-version number of the kernel (in the example above the full kernel version used is 2.6.17.13).

kernel-enterprise-2.6.*

the Mandriva kernel for enterprises

Available in "main", and therefore in the Standard Edition and downloaded ISO images.

i686-optimised, multiple processor support (SMP), and highmem support for up to 64 GB.

Typically the kernel carries a name in the form of "kernel-enterprise-2.6.17.5mdv", indicating the Linux kernel release ("2.6.17"), and the Mandriva's patch release ("5").

Unfortunately, the version number doesn't indicate the sub-version number of the kernel (in the example above the full kernel version used is 2.6.17.13).

Normally, this kernel carries the same release number as the standard Mandriva kernel and is released in tandem.

kernel-legacy-2.6.*

The Mandriva kernel for i586 based processors

Available in "main", and therefore in the Standard Edition and downloaded ISO images.

i586-optimised, multiple processor support, no highmem support (up to 880 MB)

Typically the kernel carries a name in the form of "kernel-legacy-2.6.17.5mdv", indicating the Linux kernel release ("2.6.17"), and the Mandriva's patch release ("5").

Unfortunately, the version number doesn't indicate the sub-version number of the kernel (in the example above the full kernel version used is 2.6.17.13).

Normally, this kernel carries the same release number as the standard Mandriva kernel and is released in tandem.

kernel-linus-2.6.*

the "plain Jane" Linux kernel

Available in "contrib", and not included by default on the downloadable ISO images.

i686 support, single processor, highmem support up to 4GB

This is the latest version of the Linux kernel. Since this kernel follows the latest release candidates from kernel.org, it may contain bugfixes or new hardware support that is not yet included in the Mandriva kernels. However, it also contains a lower number of drivers, and since it is very new, it is less well tested.

A good base for developing and testing kernel patches without fearing conflicts, as there are normally no patches applied at all included in this kernel.

Typically the kernel carries a name in the form of "kernel-linus-2.6.18.rc6.3mdv", indicating the Linux kernel release ("2.6.18rc6"). The release version of this kernel is 3mdv.

Multimedia Kernels

These kernels are available on 32 and 64bits x86 computers. In addition, a version is available for 32 bits powerpc processors.

kernel-multimedia-desktop-2.6.?.?-?mdv

  • a kernel with many additional patches on top of the mandriva kernel.

Available in "contrib", and therefore not included by default on the downloadable ISO images.

i686-optimized, single processor, highmem support up to 4GB. There is also an version available that supports machines with multiple processors: kernel-multimedia-desktop-smp-2.6.?.?-?mdv

Usually the standard Mandriva kernel with patches that optimize it for multimedia use, such as for sound tools that require as low latency (roughly speaking, response time) from the kernel as possible. In general these modifications will also make your desktop feel more responsive, although the drawback is that the raw performance (for instance when compiling) is a little bit reduced. This kernel includes the patches based on Con Kolivas work, which can be found here:

For applications that can make use of it, (near) realtime performance is provided by a special module can be loaded into the kernel as explain in the readme file shown on install.

The kernel also includes some other features that are currently not supported in the default kernels:

  • Reiserfs4 support: A new, fast, and very advanced filesystem. However, it is currently still a bit untested. Use backups if you use this.
  • Suspend2 support: A reimplementation of software suspend (suspend to disk). You need the hibernate package, also available from contrib, to use this feature. Suspend2 may work on machines were suspend1 has problems. It is also faster and supports a user-interface (not included in Mandriva Linux at this moment).

Several modules that are available through dkms are included by default in the multimedia kernel (omnibook drivers, spca5xx, qc-usb, etc).

This kernel will occasionally lag behind the current Mandriva version due to the interaction between the multimedia patches and the ones already in the Mandriva kernel. However, it is your best choice to use for a multimedia machine: sound mixing, playing the latest games, and more.

Typically the kernel carries a name in the form of "kernel-multimedia-2.6.17.13-mm-desktop-1mdv". The numbers before "mm" indicate the Linux kernel release ("2.6.17.13"). and the patch release number is "1".

kernel-multimedia-laptop-2.6.?.?-?mdv

  • a kernel with many additional patches on top of the mandriva kernel.

Available in "contrib", and therefore not included by default on the downloadable ISO images.

i686-optimized, single processor, highmem support up to 4GB. There is also an version available that supports machines with multiple processors: kernel-multimedia-laptop-smp-2.6.?.?-?mdv

Usually the standard Mandriva kernel with patches that optimize it for multimedia use. In contains the same patches as the desktop kernel mentioned above. However, it is not configured to reach the same levels of low-latency as provided by the desktop variant. Instead, this kernel contains some settings which make it more energy efficient, and excludes some features that are not, or rarely, useful on laptop computers. This kernel includes also the patches based on Con Kolivas work, which can be found here:
Kernel patch homepage of Con Kolivas

The kernel also includes some other features that are currently not supported in the default kernels:

  • Reiserfs4 support: A new, fast, and very advanced filesystem. However, it is currently still a bit untested. Use backups if you use this.
  • Suspend2 support: A reimplementation of software suspend (suspend to disk). You need the hibernate package, also available from contrib, to use this feature. Suspend2 may work on machines were suspend1 has problems. It is also faster and supports a user-interface (not included in Mandriva Linux at this moment).

Several modules that are available through dkms are included by default in the multimedia kernel (omnibook drivers, spca5xx, qc-usb, etc).

This kernel will occasionally lag behind the current Mandriva version due to the interaction between the multimedia patches and the ones already in the Mandriva kernel. However, it is your best choice to use a responsive desktop on a laptop machine.

Typically the kernel carries a name in the form of "kernel-multimedia-2.6.17.13-mm-laptop-1mdv". The numbers before "mm" indicate the Linux kernel release ("2.6.17.13"). and the patch release number is "1".

Thomas Backlund's Kernels

kernel-tmb-2.4.x.x.tmb

Thomas Backlund's "experimental" kernel

Available in "contribs", and therefore in the PowerPack and ProSuite Editions as well as by download from mirrors.

Based on the standard Mandriva kernel, this kernel provides even more patches. It's a good solution to try if your hardware isn't supported by the normal Mandrakelinux installation before resorting to compiling your own kernel.

The patches in this kernel can be considered as yet too experimental to be offically merged into the 2.4 kernel, yet stable enough for general release. This kernel is a potential indicator of what patches _may_ eventually make it into the stable Mandrake kernel.

Typically the kernel carries a name in the form of "kernel-tmb-2.4.22.3.tmb.2mdk". The version numbers before "tmb" indicate which standard Mandrake kernel provides the base for this kernel. For example, "2.4.22.3" means that the kernel is based on "kernel-2.4.22-3mdk". The number after the "tmb" correspondes to Thomas's patch release ("2").

kernel-tmb-enterprise-2.4.x.x.tmb

Thomas Backlund's "experimental" kernel for dual- and multi-processor machines

Available in "contribs", and therefore in the PowerPack and ProSuite Editions as well as by download from mirrors.

Based on the Mandrake Enterprise kernel, carrying the same set of patches as Thomas' standard experimental kernel.

Typically the kernel carries a name in the form of "kernel-tmb-enterprise-2.4.22.3.tmb.2mdk". The version numbers before "tmb" indicate which standard Mandrake kernel provides the base for this kernel. For example, "2.4.22.3" means that the kernel is based on "kernel-2.4.22-3mdk". The number after the "tmb" correspondes to Thomas's patch release ("2").

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