Skip to main content

Smoke Testing Kernel 2.6.15

Kernel 2.6.15 became available January 3rd. I downloaded it and did the build and install dance to test it out on my Gateway under SuSE 10. What follows are my initial impressions.
  • Overall quality appears to be very good. It was built using gcc 4.0.2. I use Grub because it's very simple to add a new kernel to /boot and then to edit /boot/grub/menu.lst and add a new stanza for the new kernel. What is interesting is that the 'pci=noacpi' boot property for kernel 2.6.13-15.7 (the SuSE kernel) is no longer needed. I know that the boot property is needed for the stock 2.6.13 kernel as well as 2.6.14 kernel on the Gateway.
  • In spite of what I've read, you have to build and install both Broadcom drivers (Tigon3 and NetXtremeII). If you only install the NetXtremeII driver then Broadcom networking will not come up (Device Drivers > Network device support > Ethernet (1000 Mbit)).
  • The Intel PRO/Wireless 2200BG support is in the kernel and appears to at least start up. The problem is that the driver has been compiled with version 19 of the wireless extensions. The wireless tools that ship and install with SuSE 10 only support up to version 18. This means that if I want to turn on wireless when I boot via the Gnome applet or to successfully manipulate the wireless interface with iwconfig, then I'll need to find and upgrade to the current set of tools. Also, a note to the first time kernel configurer: You have to enable Networking > Generic IEEE 802.11 Networking Stack before you will see an entry for the Intel chip under Device Drivers > Network device support > Wireless Lan.
  • I use a Logitech 4000 Pro webcam. The driver that comes out-of-the-kernel does not work, so I have to always go and download the Phillips USB Webcam Driver from I've done it for kernels 2.6.13 and 2.6.14, and it continues on for 2.6.15.
  • ATI 3D hardware acceleration is broken. An attempt to use my current ATI driver to work with this kernel results in a 'Unknown symbol verify_area' message when I attempt to load the module. This means downloading and installing the latest ATI driver which I believe corrects this problem.
So far everything else works fine. The problems I've touched on are more interesting than annoying, and are to be expected when you go and tinker with the kernel. More importantly they give me a heads up for the future time when I will most likely upgrade from SuSE 10 to SuSE 10.1.


Popular posts from this blog

cat-in-a-box channels greta garbo

So I'm sitting at my computer, when I start to notice a racket in back. I ignore it for a while until I hear a load "thump!", as if something had been dropped on the floor, followed by a lot of loud rattling. I turn around and see Lucy in the box just having a grand old time, rolling around and rattling that box a good one. I grab the GX1 and snap a few shots before she notices me and the camera, then leaps out and back into her chair (which used to be my chair before she decided it was her chair).

Just like caring for Katie my black Lab taught me about dogs, caring for Lucy is teaching me about cats. She finds me fascinating, as I do her. And she expresses great affection and love toward me without coaxing. I try to return the affection and love, but she is a cat, and she takes a bat at me on occasion, although I think that's just her being playful. She always has her claws in when she does that.

She sits next to me during the evening in her chair while I sit in mi…

first night for the gingersnaps

The first night has passed and the two have managed to survive, in spite of what their tiny hearts might have thought when first arriving. Greebo, the larger of the two, has been in hiding the entire time so far. Ponder has spent the time zipping in and out of hiding spots, checking things out, and learning just how comfortable pillows are for resting your head.

During the night I felt the tiny body of Ponder hitting the bed as he leaped up on the side, and then climbed to the top to run around on top of me. At least once he play-attacked my fingers. He might be small but his claws are still quite sharp.

When I got up in the morning the bowl of cat kitten food was fairly well depleted. It's been refilled and fresh water put in the big dish on the floor. I'm assuming that both Greebo and Ponder are feeding and drinking. I have seen Greebo under the furniture peeking out at me when I went looking for him. I'm leaving him alone while he continues to adjust.

So far the guys h…

vm networking problem fixed

Over the weekend I upgraded to Windows 8.1, then discovered that networking for the virtual machines wouldn't work. Then I tried something incredibly simple and fixed the problem.

Checking the system I noticed that three VMware Windows services weren't running; VMnetDHCP, VMUSBArbService, and VMwareNatService. VMware Player allows you to install, remove, or fix an existing installation. I chose to try fixing the installation, and that fixed the problem. The services were re-installed/restarted, and the virtual machines had networking again.

Once network connectivity was established there was exactly one updated file for Ubuntu 13.10, a data file. This underscores how solid and finished the release was this time. Every other version of every other Linux installation I've ever dealt with has always been succeeded by boatloads of updates after the initial installation. But not this time.

Everything is working properly on my notebook. All's right with the world.