January 22, 2010

Slackware Linux Tip-of-the-day: The Included Slackware Kernels

Currently in Slackware Linux you have the option to use difference kernels, the current kernels include the following options:

  • smp - SMP (Symmetric Multi Processing) allows a 32-bit operating systems to efficiently utilize multi-core processors under a 32-bit architecture.
  • non-smp - This is generally only useful if you have a single-core CPU or if you have encountered errors running an SMP kernel.
  • huge - These kernels have most file-system and generic drivers built in, but can slow down your boot time and utilize additional memory compared to the generic kernels.
  • generic - This kernel has the minimal amount of items built it, most kernel items are compiled as modules which mean that you will have to build a custom initrd image to boot your system, but the benefits are lower memory consumption and increased speed.
When installing the system generally by default you install a huge smp kernel to guarantee that your hardware work on the first boot. But after that point it is a good idea to move to the generic kernel to reduce resources used and refine the support that your system can perform. The steps to install a generic kernel and build the appropriate initrd file are located in any installed Slackware system at /boot/README.initrd, or you can read them at http://slackware.osuosl.org/slackware/README.initrd
And and with most things in Slackware additional information about this can be found in the README files on the root directory of the installation disk.