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Upgrading Your Current System To Kernel 2.6 442

Posted by timothy
from the share-and-enjoy dept.
An anonymous reader writes "This white paper provides an overview of the process of moving an existing desktop system to the 2.6 kernel. It will highlight other software requirements imposed by the new kernel and administrative changes that you must make when migrating an existing system to the 2.6 kernel. It supplements previous whitepapers in the same series about Customizing the 2.6 kernel [Slashdot discussion here(1)] and porting drivers to the 2.6 kernel [Slashdot discussion here(2)] to the 2.6 kernel."
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Upgrading Your Current System To Kernel 2.6

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  • by ageoffri (723674) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @12:21PM (#8386976)
    I'd like to see a nice up to date list distributions that are built around the 2.6 kernel. Trying to update a Mandrake system to 2.6 didn't work for me and these days I don't have the time to track down errors.
  • What system? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ageitgey (216346) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @12:23PM (#8387018) Homepage
    Although it is obvious to many slashdot readers, the summary doesn't even mention the word "Linux".

    So maybe we should point out that this is a whitepaper on upgrading Linux systems to kernel 2.6. (And no, I don't think the icon is enough - not everyone has a stuffed Tux on their desk).
  • 2.6's shortcomings (Score:1, Insightful)

    by dan2550 (663103) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @12:28PM (#8387085) Homepage
    i tried both 2.6 and 2.6.2 and i must say i wasn't really impressed with either. besides the fact that alot less stuff was echo'ed, the new make xconfig was annoying to work with, and it was actually nicer to just use menuconfig. also, i had a lot of trouble getting the framebuffer to work. right now, i have a dual boot with 2.4.22, 2.6.2, and windows (in order of preference)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @12:30PM (#8387110)
    " Stories like this do nothing to help build a convincing argument to Windows users that Linux is in fact the better OS. If even seasoned Linux users have problems upgrading their kernel, think of how frustrating it would be for someone less technically-inclined."

    "This is one of many issues that Linux has to work out before it can become a true mainstream OS."

    It's really only a PR issue... the equivalent of the Windows world way of doing this is to just wait for the next RedHat, Mandrake, or whatever.

  • by alienw (585907) <> on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @12:32PM (#8387134)
    How many times have you manually upgraded the kernel in Windows? This is not something that should be done by normal users, period. If you need a newer kernel, install a newer distribution.
  • by H0ek (86256) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @12:34PM (#8387170) Homepage Journal
    If there are, I didn't see them. All I did was:

    apt-get install kernel-image-2.6.2-1-686

    Two lines on the command line and a reboot and I've been happy ever since.

    Oh, wait, we're talking outside Debian. Nevermind.
  • by bsdparasite (569618) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @12:35PM (#8387185)
    Why would unseasoned users want to Upgrade their Kernel?? I don't understand. RedHat has up2date which also updates the kernel (mini updates only). There is absolutely no reason to get the new kernel unless there is a box on a shop shelf saying "new kernel 2.6 Libranet 3.0".

    my 2c

  • by aug24 (38229) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @12:36PM (#8387206) Homepage
    The purpose of Linus et al is not to beat Microsoft. That's statedly incidental. The ultimate purpose is to make a free (as in both) OS which 'just works'.

    To that end, sometimes things will have to be broken to improve. The alternative is to support legacy code till the end of days and end up with MS-like bloatware.

    Jo(e) average user doesn't want, need, or expect to upgrade their running kernel. So who cares how hard it is?

    Built my 2.6 kernel, won't run (kpanic), don't care, waiting for Red Hat or whoever to do it for me.
  • by HoldmyCauls (239328) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @12:42PM (#8387298) Journal
    Stories like this are aimed at people who *might* build a kernel anyway. A person who wants to know *if* Linux is useful shouldn't be going near the kernel to begin with. That person should be reading articles on installing/test-driving Linux. That's why those of us in the know discuss the problems we have, which discussions can be made to improve the workings of the kernel, and the distro-makers will configure their own damned kernels.
  • by petabyte (238821) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @12:47PM (#8387375)
    Frankly, I wouldn't describe the parent as a seasoned Linux user. I upgraded 4 distros - Slackware, Gentoo, Debian, and a friends Fedora to 2.6 - probably not spending more than 30 minutes on any machine. Most of that was the new config file.

    "Less technically inclined" has nothing to do with it. Computer skills are largely a matter of experience. I've used linux as my desktop for roughly 6 years. I can do most day to day system's administration things much faster than other people. Does this mean I'm more skilled? Probably not. I can also do most systems' administration tasks in Windows much faster than other people. Why? Because I've already addressed the issues or fixed the problems before. 2.6 is a new experience for most people and until they gain experience building it, its going to be hard. The same if you've never built a kernel before. So practice. And, uh, keep a boot disk around :).
  • by JAgostoni (685117) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @12:56PM (#8387498) Homepage Journal
    Easy for you ... easy for me ... try explaning the terms: apt-get, shell, kernel, etc. to my parents
  • by MisanthropicProggram (597526) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @01:04PM (#8387575)
    Yes, that would help. Another thing that would help us Linux newbies is a matrix that would show us the difference between the 2.0, 2.4,2.6 Kernels.
    Forgive me, but I'm used to the highest numbered software to be the latest and best and when I go up to, I see all these kernels being updated and maintained. Google'ing for the answer isn't helping.
  • by squiggleslash (241428) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @01:07PM (#8387626) Homepage Journal
    Well, it's only an issue because Linux allows you to do it, in theory.

    Imagine a Windows 2000 user deciding they want to upgrade NTOSKRNL.EXE from 5.0 to 5.1. They wouldn't. They couldn't. They'd upgrade the entire operating system (ie they'd install Windows XP) And, simularly, the easiest way to upgrade from Linux 2.4 to Linux 2.6 is to install the latest version of whatever GNU/Linux distribution you use.

    The fact that the geekier of us can upgrade components of our GNU/Linux systems doesn't mean that it's the best solution for everyone. But only the geekiest of us would do that anyway, "ordinary" GNU/Linux users would upgrade the OS, not just the kernel.

  • Re:sound (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Just Some Guy (3352) <> on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @01:12PM (#8387693) Homepage Journal
    I've never had problems, although I'd primarily used old ESS-1371 cards for my limited audio needs (anything can play an MP3 reasonably well).

    I recently bought an SB-Live and decided to switch to ALSA. Debian made this as easy as choosing my soundcard from a list, and it automagically worked. I had the same experience at the office with my PC's onboard Intel 8x0 sound - no manual configuration was necessary.

    Sound used to be a pain in the neck, but I pretty much consider it a solved problem now (except for maybe exotic boards). ALSA does an awesome job of getting it right with minimal user intervention.

  • by revividus (643168) <phil,crissman&gmail,com> on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @01:15PM (#8387766) Homepage
    I know this is slashdot and I'm not suppose to give a Gentoo advice

    Yes you are. This is supposed to be "...Stuff that matters." Well, I read /. daily, and Gentoo information matters to me.

    The only thing I can figure is that Gentoo has become kind of the "macintosh" of the linux world. Everyone(tm) has just started saying "Yes, we realize you love Gentoo, but STOP TELLING US ABOUT IT." Which is fine, I suppose; zealots can be annoying. But just plain news, statements about Gentoo, shouldn't be modded down any more than news about any other distro.

    That being said, I think most of the Gentoo Howto should apply to any version of Linux; they would just have to download the kernel sources themselves instead of using "emerge", and compile it themselves rather than using "genkernel". Still a fine piece of documentation.

    My $.02, I'm done.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @01:15PM (#8387778)
    Are you serious?

    Show me a Window's "upgrade" downloadable from their website that completed changes their KERNEL! It's called a new version and they charge significant money for it.

    The fact that you can completely replace the kernel of your OS without buying a completely new distribution, performing an upgrade/install and still run all your apps is a Linux plus not a minus.

    Normal users should just wait for the next release of distribution to be completely painless but it's hardly rocket science to upgrade just the kernel from 2.4 to 2.6, something which is totally unfathomable in the Window's world.
  • by barawn (25691) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @01:18PM (#8387820) Homepage
    Second, if you use debian, you have no right to bitch about Linux being difficult to use. It's not exactly the most user-friendly system around.

    No, it's not the most Windows-like system around. It is the most Linux-like system around, and it's absolute craploads easier to use than Windows. Everything is documented, and everything is modifiable.

    As a simple example: Windows XP doesn't handle wireless connections terribly well - if I standby my laptop with one wireless connection that uses DHCP, and then wake it up in an area where it has a different wireless connection, it doesn't release/renew the DHCP lease. I have to do it myself. This is stupid - on a Linux system, if the distribution was screwed up, I could just script it in a moment's notice.

    Windows's help system is also a joke - most of the programs don't properly document what things do (the number of times I've seen "There is no help available for this option...") and so you're left hoping that things work.

    Windows is by far one of the least user-friendly operating systems around. The problem is that it's so pervasive that everyone's used to believing that user-friendly = Windows-like = "everything just works". That's not true, because no operating system just works, because no operating system knows everything you could possibly do with it.

    Linux forces you to learn about a problem before solving it. That actually makes it very user-friendly, because it means that users can realize that they can do more than what they originally thought they could do - meaning the OS makes them more productive.

    Windows isn't user-friendly. The simplest way to illustrate that is to ask this: how much does it allow you, the user, to do, and how much does it try to do it for you? An operating system that does everything for you and allows you to do nothing isn't user-friendly, because what if you don't want to do what it wants? An operating system that allows you to do everything but does nothing for you isn't user-friendly, because, well, it's a computer. It can do things automatically. The best operating system is one that tries to do everything for you, but allows you to do everything as well, and that's Debian.
  • by kfg (145172) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @01:22PM (#8387894)
    On the other hand, one makes the transition from normal user to abnormal user by trying things, breaking things, fixing the things you broke and then rinsing and repeating a few thousand times.

    The knowledge you yourself have was not channeled to your by some Atlantean spirit creature. You earned it the hard way.

    The mere fact that this person tried to upgrade their kernel in the first place places them outside of the "normal" catagory to begin with. Hell, he might even be a wizard larva given a bit of time to grow and pupate.

    If he wants to get his hands dirty and is willing to take the risks I'm on his side. Note that he didn't come on here saying "Linux sucks." He noted that he has had problems, but took proper precautions, he's been working them out and that maybe with the aid of this paper he'll give it another go.

    That's hacker spirit.

  • by BenjyD (316700) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @01:27PM (#8387988)
    I think the reason for the moderation is that it is both a very old joke and a very unfunny one. It appears almost everytime some release announcement is made on Slashdot.
  • by Hentai (165906) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @01:45PM (#8388300) Homepage Journal
    Speaking of, can anyone help me upgrade from "Operating System 2000" to "Operating System XP?"

    How about from "Operating System 9" to "Operating System X"?

    It's not like there's no precedent for just calling an OS 'OS'...
  • by barawn (25691) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @02:24PM (#8388834) Homepage

    Uh, yes it is. That's why so many people I try to introduce Linux to don't want to switch. Linux is too much of a hassle to use.

    Read the post again. I said

    The problem is that it's so pervasive that everyone's used to believing that user-friendly = Windows-like = "everything just works"


    No, it's not the most Windows-like system around.

    People who start off using Windows learn its quirks and idiosyncracies and think of them as "normal". They're not. Linux isn't "Windows-ex-user-friendly", but I'm glad it's not, because Windows isn't userfriendly to begin with. In fact, there are quite a few different paradigms that Linux has that the Windows paradigm doesn't have that are far more user-friendly. See WindowMaker, for instance, with the NeXTSTEP interface, or Emacs with almost everything bound to keybindings, or LyX.

    A high learning curve does not make something non-user-friendly, especially when there are rewards for the high learning curve. There's absolutely no doubt that there are more powerful tools under Linux - Emacs was virtually designed from the ground up to allow people to edit files as fast and as easily as possible (hence the reason that cursor editing keys are all control-combinations of home row keys). A person who chooses not to go through the "hassle" of not climbing a learning curve which has obvious benefits is not avoiding the program because it's not user-friendly - they're avoiding the program because they're lazy .

    Start off with people who have never used a computer (or at least, never used Windows), and are willing to learn to use one, and they'll learn Linux rather easily. That's how most of us did.

    Only tech-nerds like us think that way. That's a made-up definition of user-friendly.

    Am I a user? Yes. Is an operating system that doesn't let me do what I want non-friendly to me? Yes. Then it's not user-friendly, now is it?

    Last time I checked the definition of user-friendly is "friendly to the user". If an operating system doesn't let the user do what he wants, it's not being friendly, now is it? :)

    why she should change from something that "already works."

    She already had a Windows mindset - that is, "Microsoft is smarter than you. You only want to do what Microsoft lets you do. You do not want to do anything else. Microsoft is good to you." She's not a user - she's a Windows user.

    Windows doesn't "work". No operating system works. There's at least one thing broken about every operating system/distribution in existence. The question as to whether or not it's user friendly is whether or not you can deal with the broken parts well.
  • by barawn (25691) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @02:33PM (#8388960) Homepage
    I didn't say that Debian should steal software from OS X, just implementation ideas (i.e., make a pretty GUI for editing all of the conffiles, AND allow people to edit the conffiles as well).

    If you have software that's not open, and not free, fundamentally, it's not as user-friendly as software that is open source, because then, the user can change it, and the user is the only person who knows what his or her needs are.

    It's the one limitation of OS X, but, honestly, Apple spends a crapload of time with usability focus groups, and most people's needs aren't *that* different, so it's not a serious limitation of OS X. Microsoft probably does the same, but my God, they must do a terrible job, because in terms of usability, their products are so far behind it's crazy. Don't like Messenger as an AIM client - and who would? - try disabling it in Windows XP. It takes serious effort to kill the damned thing, as a ton of other programs launch it as well. Want to run a script every time a connection is detected (like updating a dDNS connection, or setting up an open port on a wireless router)? Ha! Good luck. We all know these things are a joke to do inside the OS, but to normal people, these things just "aren't possible". Windows is worse than just "not user-friendly" - by being so pervasive it makes people think that it defines what a computer can do, and therefore, Windows' limitations become a computer's limitations.
  • Re:OT: Debian (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Trashman (3003) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @02:40PM (#8389047)
    I strenuously suggest that you read This [] if you plan on installing debian.

  • by barawn (25691) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @03:06PM (#8389390) Homepage
    Fedora kernel crash on all my SMP systems

    I hate to say it, but someone coming from Fedora is still not a user - they're a Red Hat user, and Red Hat has done quite a bit to make the system "like" Windows. If you expect Debian to act "like" Red Hat, you'll be disappointed. If you expect Debian to act "like" Windows, you'll be disappointed.

    If you don't expect anything of Debian, and examine it for what it is, you'll be very impressed.

    I don't want to describe all technical problems I had

    No operating system works. There are technical problems with every operating system in existence. I can't use plenty of hardware on a Windows XP box. There's no chance in hell of me using my old LANding Gear network adapter on Windows XP. It's a tremendous effort to get the Acer NeWeb WarpLink wireless adapter to work, too - and both of those took only a tiny amount of work in Linux. The question is not "how easy does this appear at first glance?" but "how easy can it become?"

    Debian has a huge userbase, and a huge community. Did you ask for help? Did you search for help? File a bug?

    It takes exactly 45 minutes and all work perfectly.

    Amazing. A former Fedora user thinks Fedora works perfectly. Never would have guessed.

    Or maybe it is if you have only debian systems and if you are ready to lose your stability if you don't follow the Debian Way to configure something, I don't know.

    In other words, "this operating system sucks if you don't learn how to use it!" Good call. I've said this elsewhere, and I'll say it again. A high learning curve does not make something not user-friendly. Someone who isn't willing to climb a learning curve isn't avoiding software because it's not user-friendly - they're avoiding software because they're lazy.

    A system that install itself without problem and *just work* is friendly.

    Nothing like this will ever exist for all users and all configurations. What you want is a system that "just works" for you. If you're someone who works "exactly" like Red Hat wants you to work, then Red Hat will probably "just work".

    Note: Don't reply to this if you just want to defend Red Hat/Fedora. Fedora's a good distribution, and it aims to be a lot like Debian. What I'm trying to point out is that if you put no effort into getting a new operating system/distribution to work - and only two days for a complete newbie is not effort - you can't claim "it's not user-friendly!" The truth is, you were lazy. Everyone has to put in effort to learn an operating system - even Windows (ever wonder why they sell those "learn Windows now!" CDs?). What makes a userfriendly distribution is one that is friendly to the user - that allows the user to do whatever he wants, and helps as much as possible.)
  • by barawn (25691) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @10:11PM (#8393631) Homepage

    You appear to equate "make everything possible" with "user-friendly".

    Nope. User-friendly is "make easy things easy, but make everything possible." At least, that's my best interpretation of it. And while Windows does make easy things easy, it fails horribly at making everything possible. So much so that people will literally look at you like you're a computer god when you say "yah, I can get the file that's on your computer halfway across the country. No problem."

    That's one positive of Windows. It makes Linux users - even average ones - look brilliant.

    Look, "easy" can't be "user-friendly". There was a TV commercial a while ago which had a businessperson constantly being harassed by salesmen who would solely say "Hi, would you like to buy software? How many copies? 1000? 2000? 3000?" If you wanted to buy software, that'd be tremendously easy! But no one would even suggest that it's user-friendly. :)

    Obviously a geek, at least in this context, is somebody who spends a great deal of time working with computers because they *enjoy* working with computers.

    No, that's a computer geek. While there may be a few people who enjoy *only* working with computers, I'm one of the people who just likes understanding things. Linux is for people who like understanding things. The problem with Windows is the fact that people who like understanding things, unless they know that Linux exists, just think that computers are magic. Windows makes people think that computers are complicated.

    For my entire working adult life, I have built systems for people who do not like computers. They don't want to use them, they don't care how they work, and quite often they HATE them.

    See, that, I blame on Windows. Windows is extremely limited in what it lets people do, and so people hate them, because they're ridiculously complicated. I even think GUIs are responsible for people hating computers as well - the command line is far more efficient, and it's far more understandable (run command, get result). The command line also eliminates the "three-column start page" problem - it allows you to have literally hundreds of programs without having to sift through tons of them to find it. The downside is, of course, that you have to know what program to use - but if you're a user trying to figure out what to do, you'd rather learn "oh, I did have that program" than "I have to download something."

    (It should also be noted that cygwin tends to mediate Windows significantly for me. First thing I do when I have to work on a Windows box somewhere is install Cygwin...)

    It is more friendly to a user who is knows what they're doing and is looking for control and configurability, but that isn't the definition of user-friendly.

    No, that's the definition of powerful. User-friendly is best described as an ideal combination of ease and power, and I do not give that to Windows. I would almost entirely credit that to Linux due to emacs and LyX, at least for anyone who writes documents. Word is an awful word processor. Ugh.

    I mean, after all, user-friendly depends significantly upon what someone plans on doing with a computer. I can literally only find maybe one use - maybe two - that Windows is more user-friendly than Linux: Games and maybe media playing, as mplayer is always a bloody hassle.

  • by barawn (25691) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @10:28PM (#8393747) Homepage
    Seriously, why should she have switched? Linux has to offer something BETTER and DIFFERENT from Windows, not rip them off in the next KDE version.

    There's the problem. She's just looking for Windows, again. Same reason she went to Windows XP's classic look.

    What does Linux have to offer? Try WindowMaker's desktop - it's remarkably more efficient to multitask with, and it's so light that having 5-6 virtual desktops is easy, and completely not straining on the computer at all.

    Try LyX as a document editor. No worrying about making things look right, or figuring out what point size looks correct, or making things work.

    Or emacs as a text editor. My *word* you can type and edit at ridiculous speeds after spending maybe an hour going through the tutorial.

    gnuplot for generating plots: hey, what do you know, you don't have to pay $1000 or more to actually get proper fits on graphs? Never would've known...

    Yes, I know. I'm talking about Linux's apps rather than Linux, and I know that you can get them under Windows as well. But out of the box, any Linux distribution is far more user-friendly than a Windows install is.

    I had to spend six hours today getting a damn network card working under Fedora. The same problem was resolved in XP with a mouse click and a textbox edit.

    Oh, for crying out loud. Well, do you want me to tell you about the months that I've been waiting for a fix from Microsoft about that moronic DHCP problem? (To put it in more 'simple' terms: "My wireless card doesn't work anymore when I move it from work to home.")

    Besides - if you knew how to set up the network card in Linux, it wouldn't've taken you six hours. It would've taken you two seconds. Forcing someone to learn something different does not make Linux innately less "user-friendly". It just makes it "not Windows." They had to learn Windows once, too.
  • Re:OT: Debian (Score:2, Insightful)

    by RedBear (207369) < minus poet> on Thursday February 26, 2004 @07:12AM (#8395956) Homepage
    You know, one of those things that's always pissed me off about trying to use Linux over the years, was trying to get X11 configured and working. Anyone care to explain what is so difficult about having a default "safe video mode"? Windows has a simple video mode that it defaults to that has never failed me. VGA, 640x480, 16 colors. I used to use BeOS, and even on completely unsupported video chipsets it would always be able to run in either the monochrome 640x480 mode or one of the VESA compatible modes. Some machines would run up to 1280x1024 in VESA compatibility mode. It was an amazingly helpful way of still being able to get into the system, use it if necessary, and open the config tools or even jump on the net in a graphical browser to try and troubleshoot the problem.

    Seems like it isn't too difficult to have one or more video modes that are gauranteed to work on every computer that's at least a 386 or higher. Yet to this day X has no default mode that it turns to in case of a problem with the config file. It either works, or it doesn't, in which case you are stuck on the command line and forced to become an expert on working with the shell and reading XFree86 config files until you figure the glitch out. If you're lucky you know some things about VESA modes already and realize you can use the VESA driver. That's if you're lucky and you already have that knowledge.

    Would it really have been (be) that difficult to implement a VGA/16-color default mode or some sort of VESA compatible mode list that the user can choose from when the config is fscked up and X won't start? Would it? Sure doesn't seem like it. It would have saved me and a lot of other people a lot of pain over the years.

    It's a nightmare when you've only got one computer on site and vital stuff like the graphics system simply won't work until you've spent 6 hours discovering that your "shell" has this command called "man" where you can actually look up helpful information about everything on the system... as soon as you figure out which of the 10,000 cryptic program names you should be looking up. This is one of those things that could have had a partial or total solution a decade ago, and still doesn't really have a solution, except we don't notice because now X is usually configured for us automatically, most of the time. This is the mindset that is keeping a lot of fringe people away from Linux to this day, I'm afraid. I ran that gauntlet already, but I don't consider it much of an accomplishment when it was a problem that could have been fixed years ago. /rant off. Going back to my Mandrake and Fedora computers now. But I really am searching for an explanation on why X is still such a pain in the ass when it isn't configured perfectly. I'll feel pretty stupid if this is no longer the case, but I haven't seen any sign otherwise even since a few months ago when I last was stuck setting up X 4.x by hand.

The economy depends about as much on economists as the weather does on weather forecasters. -- Jean-Paul Kauffmann