Today's new things

The big new thing today was enabling SMP in the kernel of the linux box I've been playing with. It didn't ship with an SMP kernel, so I got to compile my own. This is the proud part. But first a little history.

The very first kernel I attempted to compile was 1.2.21. I wanted something newer than the 1.2.17 that shipped with the Slackware disk we had (Volkerding visted our college and left a disk behind). On my 486/33DX, that compile took around 40-50 minutes. It was monolithic, as modules hadn't been created yet. But I got it done. I repeated the trick for 1.2.24, 1.2.26, 1.2.28, and 1.2.29. Then I tried some 1.3.x kernels, but the machine got superseeded before I could attempt any of the 2.x series of kernels.

That, as you can guess, was a while ago. I'm quite happy that I managed to compile and install the kernel and all modules without causing problems on reboot, on the first try. This has to be the first time that's happened. I'm so happy!

But... with all the modules and the kernel compile, the compile time took a shade under an hour. And that is WITH "make -j3" to allow make to run multiple threads (after I had the first SMP kernel in, and was tweaking it, of course). That visibly helped.

And I really didn't need to do that. This particular application is very, very low-key. I could probably happily run it on a PPro 200. I just wanted to see if I could get the kernel optimized a touch. Turned on SMP, and set the memory config settings to allow the entire 1gb of RAM to be used. Not that I'm short of memory. Just one of those things to keep a skill-set from getting rustier.