Downshifting in the face of kernel problems

Crux requires you to build your own kernels, and manage your own kernel updates. As I have mentioned in the past, one of the joys of working with older hardware is that I rarely need to keep up with kernel releases: Changes seldom apply to my hardware. And so I usually bounce upward once every month or so, moving from one release series to the next, but ignoring dot-releases.

And generally speaking, updates snap into place without a hitch. Moving from 2.6.31.5 to 2.6.32.2 was an exception, considering I lost nfs access between machines and the LEDs on my ath5k-based Corega CG-WLCB54AG2 wireless card began to blink interminably. I moved from .31.5 to .32.2 with make oldconfig, so I didn’t expect those problems.

But after three reconfigurations and the hour-long toll it takes to compile each one, I simply found no love in 2.6.32.2. It might be something has shifted, or something was misconfigured between the two, but regardless I wasn’t having any luck. So I did what any able-bodied Linux hobbyist in the same circumstances would probably do: I went back to the earlier version.

Like I said, it’s rare that one kernel or another has any real improvement in performance for me (and I say that knowing full well that over time, some hardware actually has worked better for me). But believe it or not, nfs is kind of important in my household. I have two or three machines with sub-par floppies or USB (or no floppies or no USB at all), and moving things around the network is the only way to get files where they are needed. So having one machine — the critical one — incommunicado was an obstruction … to say the least.

But more than that, I’m not so desperate for the newest, coolest kernel in my 9-year-old Celeron that I have to pull out all my hair to find an answer to those issues. Like I said, I’m a hobbyist, so it’s not my responsibility to chase bizarre kernel behavior. I don’t have the talent or the time — which is sometimes a luxury, and sometimes not. This time I am just ambivalent: One kernel or another, I am content either way.

So I’ll probably stick with the 31-series until I get curious and-or bored, and try again. Which might be in a week or two. Or three. Or four. … ;)

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2 Responses to “Downshifting in the face of kernel problems”


  1. 1 steve 2010/01/10 at 11:39 AM

    I have had this experience with 2.6.32 as well. I have gone back to using Debian Lenny after a few things breaking in Squeeze and Sid (no surprises I suppose) but I get sick of tracking stuff down when it doesn’t work. 2.6.30 didn’t like my synaptics touchpad and 2.6.32 slows my rt73usb wifi connection to the speed of dialup. Sorry Linux but that’s a one-two fail. I have found Lenny makes a good base for a CLI based system which can be seen here http://sirfer.dnsdojo.com/pix/fb1.png

    cheers, the blog is great reading for us not-so-serious linux users ;o)


  1. 1 Sometimes a problem is a good thing « Motho ke motho ka botho Trackback on 2010/04/20 at 8:59 AM

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May 6, 2011
Musca 0.9.24 on Crux Linux
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