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1 <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
2
3 <!DOCTYPE guide SYSTEM "/dtd/guide.dtd">
4 <guide link="/doc/en/gentoo-kernel.xml">
5 <title>Gentoo Linux Kernel Guide</title>
6 <author title="Author">
7 <mail link="swift@gentoo.org">Sven Vermeulen</mail>
8 </author>
9 <author title="Contributor">
10 <mail link="lostlogic@gentoo.org">Brandon Low</mail>
11 </author>
12 <author title="Editor">
13 <mail link="carl@gentoo.org">Carl Anderson</mail>
14 </author>
15 <author title="Editor">
16 <mail link="peesh@gentoo.org">Jorge Paulo</mail>
17 </author>
18
19 <license/>
20
21 <abstract>
22 This document gives you an overview on all kernelsources that Gentoo
23 provides through Portage.
24 </abstract>
25
26 <version>0.2</version>
27 <date>October 18, 2003</date>
28
29 <chapter>
30 <title>Introduction</title>
31 <section>
32 <body>
33
34 <p>
35 As with everything else in Gentoo Linux, the philosophy of the Gentoo
36 Kernel team is to give you, the user, as much freedom of choice as
37 possible. If you take a look at the output of <c>emerge -s sources</c>
38 you see a large variety of kernels to choose from. In this document,
39 I will attempt to give you a brief rundown of the goals of each of the
40 patch sets, which we at Gentoo design, and also explain the other kernel
41 sources we make available to you.
42 </p>
43
44 </body>
45 </section>
46 </chapter>
47
48 <chapter>
49 <title>The Choices, Part I</title>
50 <section>
51 <title>gentoo-sources</title>
52 <body>
53
54 <p>
55 For most users, the recommended kernel sources are the
56 <c>gentoo-sources</c>. The <c>gentoo-sources</c> package contains
57 specially tuned performance kernel patches designed to optimize tasks
58 such as compiling while listening to music and browsing the web. Most
59 of you who are new to Gentoo have probably never run a system where you
60 are regularly compiling many packages from source while you are doing your
61 normal everyday tasks on your computer.
62 You may find that if you use the <c>vanilla-sources</c> (the official
63 kernel sources released from <uri>http://www.kernel.org</uri>) normal tasks --
64 such as listening to music, moving your mouse and the like -- may appear
65 jumpy when you are compiling packages.
66 </p>
67
68 <p>
69 The <c>gentoo-sources</c> contain an updated ACPI subsystem and are based
70 on Con Kolivas' high-performance kernel patches (<c>ck-sources</c>). We also
71 support grSecurity (a set of security-related patches with support for
72 ACLs), EVMS(2) (a highly flexible storage management filesystem with easy
73 partition resizing), JFS (IBM's high-performance filesystem), the latest
74 NTFS drivers, and more.
75 </p>
76
77 <p>
78 Because the <c>gentoo-sources</c> are targeted at full performance, they are
79 also very good for gaming purposes.
80 </p>
81
82 <p>
83 The following USE-flags can be set to select optional patches:
84 </p>
85
86 <table>
87 <tr><th>Flag</th><th>Description</th></tr>
88 <tr><ti>aavm</ti><ti>Use Andrea Arcangeli's memory management</ti></tr>
89 <tr><ti>evms2</ti><ti>Use EVMS 2.0.1 instead of EVMS 1.2.1</ti></tr>
90 <tr><ti>crypt</ti><ti>Apply Cryptographic patches</ti></tr>
91 <tr><ti>usagi</ti><ti>Keep USAGI, drop superfreeswan, patch-int, loop-jari</ti></tr>
92 </table>
93
94
95 </body>
96 </section>
97 <section>
98 <title>vanilla-sources</title>
99 <body>
100
101 <p>
102 The next kernel sources that many of you will probably be familiar with
103 as Linux users are the <c>vanilla-sources</c>. As I mentioned briefly
104 above, these are the official kernel sources released on
105 <uri>http://www.kernel.org/</uri>. These sources are maintained (contrary
106 to popular belief) not by Linus Torvalds himself, but by Marcelo
107 Tosatti. Linus is the leader of active kernel development, but as he is
108 only one man, he passes off the maintenance of the stable kernel branch
109 to someone he can trust to handle it once it has stabilized. Thus, Alan
110 Cox became the maintainer of the Linux-2.2 kernel series and Marcelo
111 Tosatti became the maintainer of the Linux-2.4 kernel series. This is
112 what all the other patch sets in the 2.4 series are based on. Marcelo has
113 been doing an outstanding job with its maintenance and it can be
114 counted on for stability and up-to-date (if not bleeding edge) hardware
115 support.
116 </p>
117
118 <p>
119 <c>vanilla-sources</c> are probably the most stable sources available
120 since they are the most tested and all possible kernel sources are based
121 on them. If you don't need any of the extras that the other kernels supply
122 then the <c>vanilla-sources</c> are your thing.
123 </p>
124
125 </body>
126 </section>
127 <section>
128 <title>gs-sources</title>
129 <body>
130
131 <p>
132 For users to whom desktop interactive performance comes as a secondary
133 priority to reliability and hardware support, we have the
134 <c>gs-sources</c>. GS stands for Gentoo Stable (creative, aren't we?).
135 This patch set is tuned and tested to provide the best support for the
136 latest hardware and ensures that your mission critical servers will be
137 up when you need them. This kernel doesn't have some of the most
138 aggressive performance tuning patches from the <c>gentoo-sources</c>,
139 but rest assured, the great performance that you know and love from the
140 vanilla kernels are alive and well. Where possible and without
141 compromising stability we add server related performance patches.
142 </p>
143
144 <p>
145 This kernel provides support for the latest ACPI subsystem, EVMS, ECC
146 (required for HA Linux systems), Encrypted Loopback devices, NTFS, Win4Lin
147 and XFS. It also contains updates for IDE, ext3 and several network cards
148 amongst other patches.
149 </p>
150
151 <p>
152 In other words, these sources are perfect for servers and
153 High-Availability systems.
154 </p>
155
156 <p>
157 The following USE-flags can be set to select optional patches:
158 </p>
159
160 <table>
161 <tr><th>Flags</th><th>Description</th></tr>
162 <tr><ti>crypt</ti><ti>Apply cryptographic patches</ti></tr>
163 </table>
164
165 </body>
166 </section>
167 <section>
168 <title>gentoo-test-sources</title>
169 <body>
170
171 <p>
172 <c>gentoo-test-sources</c> are what will become <c>gentoo-sources</c> after
173 lots of testing and QA. Patches to the <c>gentoo-sources</c> are first
174 added to <c>gentoo-test-sources</c> for testing. So if you want the
175 performance of <c>gentoo-sources</c> with the most recent possible
176 patches, use <c>gentoo-test-sources</c>.
177 </p>
178
179 <p>
180 The following USE-flags can be set to select optional patches:
181 </p>
182
183 <table>
184 <tr><th>Flag</th><th>Description</th></tr>
185 <tr><ti>aavm</ti><ti>Use Andrea Arcangeli's memory management</ti></tr>
186 <tr><ti>evms2</ti><ti>Use EVMS 2.0.1 instead of EVMS 1.2.1</ti></tr>
187 <tr><ti>crypt</ti><ti>Apply Cryptographic patches</ti></tr>
188 <tr><ti>usagi</ti><ti>Keep USAGI, drop superfreeswan, patch-int, loop-jari</ti></tr>
189 </table>
190
191 </body>
192 </section>
193 <section>
194 <title>hardened-sources</title>
195 <body>
196
197 <p>
198 <c>hardened-sources</c> provides patches for the various subprojects of
199 Gentoo Hardened, together with stability/security-enhancements. Check
200 <uri>http://www.gentoo.org/proj/en/hardened/</uri> for more information.
201 </p>
202
203 <p>
204 The following USE-flags can be set to select optional patches:
205 </p>
206
207 <table>
208 <tr><th>Flags</th><th>Description</th></tr>
209 <tr><ti>selinux</ti><ti>Substitute grSecurity with SELinux support</ti></tr>
210 </table>
211
212 </body>
213 </section>
214 <section>
215 <title>xfs-sources</title>
216 <body>
217
218 <p>
219 <c>xfs-sources</c> contains support for EVMS, ACPI, grSecurity and, what
220 you probably already figured out by now, the latest XFS support patches
221 from the XFS Development. The Gentoo LiveCD uses <c>xfs-sources</c>, if
222 you must know :-)
223 </p>
224
225 <p>
226 More information about XFS on <uri>http://oss.sgi.com/projects/xfs/</uri>.
227 </p>
228
229 <p>
230 You can select the following USE-flags to select optional patches:
231 </p>
232
233 <table>
234 <tr><th>Flags</th><th>Description</th></tr>
235 <tr><ti>crypt</ti><ti>Apply cryptographic patches</ti></tr>
236 </table>
237
238 </body>
239 </section>
240 <section>
241 <title>Architecture dependent kernels</title>
242 <body>
243
244 <p>
245 <c>alpha-sources</c>, <c>arm-sources</c>, <c>hppa-sources</c>,
246 <c>mips-sources</c>, <c>ppc-sources</c> and <c>sparc-sources</c> are, as
247 their names suggest, patched to run best on specific architectures. They
248 also contain some of the patches for hardware and features support from
249 the other patch sets mentioned above and below.
250 </p>
251
252 </body>
253 </section>
254 <section>
255 <title>ppc-sources-benh</title>
256 <body>
257
258 <p>
259 The <c>ppc-sources-benh</c> ebuilds provide additional hardware
260 support for the <c>ppc-sources</c> kernel. It is slightly more
261 experimental than the <c>ppc-sources</c>.
262 </p>
263
264 </body>
265 </section>
266 <section>
267 <title>ppc-sources-crypto</title>
268 <body>
269
270 <p>
271 The <c>ppc-sources-crypto</c> ebuilds provide CryptoAPI
272 support for the Gentoo Linux PPC Kernel. More information about
273 CryptoAPI can be found on <uri>http://www.kerneli.org/about/</uri>.
274 </p>
275
276 </body>
277 </section>
278 <section>
279 <title>ppc-sources-dev</title>
280 <body>
281
282 <p>
283 The <c>ppc-sources-dev</c> packages provide the development sources for
284 <c>ppc-sources</c>. Every patch which should become part of
285 <c>ppc-sources</c> has to go through <c>ppc-sources-dev</c> first.
286 </p>
287
288 </body>
289 </section>
290 <section>
291 <title>compaq-sources</title>
292 <body>
293
294 <p>
295 The <c>compaq-sources</c> provide RedHat's kernel sources for Alpha,
296 maintained by Compaq.
297 </p>
298
299 </body>
300 </section>
301 </chapter>
302
303 <chapter>
304 <title>The Choices, Part II</title>
305 <section>
306 <body>
307
308 <p>
309 Now I'm going to try to briefly describe some of the other
310 <path>sys-kernel/*-sources</path> which you saw scroll by when you ran
311 <c>emerge -s sources</c>. Lets take them in alphabetical order.
312 </p>
313
314 </body>
315 </section>
316 <section>
317 <title>aa-sources</title>
318 <body>
319
320 <p>
321 First we have <c>aa-sources</c>. This is Andrea Arcangeli's patch set.
322 Andrea is known as an amazing coder by many other kernel hackers. His
323 kernel patch set has some of the most aggressively tuned VM (Virtual
324 Memory) patches known to mankind. When I last looked, it also contained
325 SGI's XFS filesystem and the O(1) scheduler by Ingo Molar (which will
326 become the default scheduler for Linux 2.6).
327 </p>
328
329 <p>
330 It also provides User Mode Linux support (check out our
331 <uri link="/doc/en/uml.xml">UML Guide</uri> for more information) and
332 the latest TUX Webserver (an in-kernel webserver).
333 </p>
334
335 <p>
336 If you have Memory Management troubles with other kernels,
337 <c>aa-sources</c> can be your solution. If you want to optimize Linux's
338 Memory Management for your system, <c>aa-sources</c> is <e>definitely</e>
339 what you need.
340 </p>
341
342 <p>
343 Visit
344 <uri>http://www.kernel.org/pub/linux/kernel/people/andrea/kernels/v2.4</uri>
345 for more information about all the patches in these kernel sources.
346 </p>
347
348 </body>
349 </section>
350 <section>
351 <title>ac-sources</title>
352 <body>
353
354 <p>
355 Next we have the <c>ac-sources</c>. This is Alan Cox's patch set against
356 the 2.4 kernel series. In this patch set you will find the O(1)
357 scheduler, the latest updates to the 2.4 IDE system and many other
358 patches that are waiting for possible inclusion in the 2.4 kernel
359 series.
360 </p>
361
362 <p>
363 This kernel is known to have very decent support for several additional
364 hardware and may be a candidate for you if you need a stable but less
365 conservative kernel than the <c>vanilla-sources</c>.
366 </p>
367
368 <p>
369 Check out
370 <uri>http://www.kernel.org/pub/linux/kernel/people/alan/linux-2.4/</uri>
371 to get a look at what Alan is working on.
372 </p>
373
374 </body>
375 </section>
376 <section>
377 <title>ck-sources</title>
378 <body>
379
380 <p>
381 <c>ck-sources</c> is Con Kolivas's kernel patch set. This kernel is
382 <e>HIGHLY</e> tuned for desktop performance at the expense of
383 throughput and some of the scheduler's ability to prioritize
384 applications. Con Kolivas benchmarks kernels to find the best
385 combination of features for desktop use. See
386 <uri>http://kernel.kolivas.org</uri> for more information on Con and his
387 patches.
388 </p>
389
390 </body>
391 </section>
392 <section>
393 <title>development-sources</title>
394 <body>
395
396 <p>
397 <c>development-sources</c> is the current unstable kernel branch. This
398 is the branch of the Linux kernel that Linus himself maintains. This
399 rapidly changing playground is where the features for the next stable
400 branch are implemented, enhanced and tested before they are released
401 to the vast majority of Linux users.
402 </p>
403
404 <p>
405 If you want the latest, bleeding edge support and experimental core-system
406 changes, this is what you want. Note however that these are <e>highly</e>
407 experimental kernel sources and it is advised <e>not</e> to use them on mission
408 critical or production systems.
409 </p>
410
411 <warn>
412 Do note that Gentoo Linux does not support issues with or related
413 to the <c>development-sources</c> or derivatives as it changes too often
414 and is known to break things occasionally.
415 </warn>
416
417 </body>
418 </section>
419 <section>
420 <title>gaming-sources</title>
421 <body>
422
423 <p>
424 <c>gaming-sources</c> are based on <c>ck-sources</c> and are therefore
425 tuned for high performance. They also contain patches for the latest
426 game-related hardware (graphic cards, sound cards, and such).
427 </p>
428
429 <p>
430 If you are a hardcore gamer, this is your choice.
431 </p>
432
433 </body>
434 </section>
435 <section>
436 <title>mm-sources</title>
437 <body>
438
439 <p>
440 The <c>mm-sources</c> are based on the <c>development-sources</c> and
441 contain Andrew Morton's patch set. It assembles several other patches,
442 like ext2/3 Extended Attributes and Access Control Lists, Page Table
443 Sharing, the Orlov Allocator, non-linear mapping behaviour, etc into one
444 patch set.
445 </p>
446
447 <p>
448 If you really want to live on the edge and you think
449 <c>development-sources</c> are for wussies, then try out
450 <c>mm-sources</c>.
451 </p>
452
453 </body>
454 </section>
455 <section>
456 <title>mosix-sources</title>
457 <body>
458
459 <p>
460 The <c>mosix-sources</c> are patched to support MOSIX operation for
461 clustered computing. A cluster is a set of nodes (PCs) with software
462 that enables them to handle tasks in a distributed manner. With
463 clusters, you don't need high-profile supercomputers to do lengthy
464 tasks. For more information see <uri>http://www.mosix.org</uri>.
465 </p>
466
467 </body>
468 </section>
469 <section>
470 <title>openmosix-sources</title>
471 <body>
472
473 <p>
474 The <c>openmosix-sources</c> are patched to support the openMosix system
475 (like MOSIX but Open Source). For more information see
476 <uri>http://www.openmosix.org</uri>.
477 </p>
478
479 </body>
480 </section>
481
482 <!--
483 TODO: Add descriptions of the other ppc-sources here
484 -->
485
486 <section>
487 <title>redhat-sources</title>
488 <body>
489
490 <p>
491 The <c>redhat-sources</c> are, as the name suggests, the sources for the
492 RedHat Linux kernel. Thanks to the wonders of Open Source, anyone can
493 take advantage of the work the RedHat engineers put into making their
494 kernels. We at Gentoo have provided an ebuild so that you can easily
495 use this kernel with Gentoo.
496 </p>
497
498 </body>
499 </section>
500 <section>
501 <title>rsbac-sources</title>
502 <body>
503
504 <p>
505 <c>rsbac-sources</c> contain the patches from
506 <uri>http://www.rsbac.org</uri>. RSBAC stands for <e>Rule Set Based
507 Access Control</e>. These kernel patches allow you to authorize users
508 based on rules instead of normal uid/gid permissions.
509 </p>
510
511 </body>
512 </section>
513 <section>
514 <title>selinux-sources</title>
515 <body>
516
517 <p>
518 <c>selinux-sources</c> from <uri>http://www.nsa.gov/selinux</uri> are
519 patches for the security conscious to support the LSM (Linux Security
520 Modules) and the Flask Security Architecture.
521 </p>
522
523 </body>
524 </section>
525 <section>
526 <title>usermode-sources</title>
527 <body>
528
529 <p>
530 <c>usermode-sources</c> are the User Mode Linux kernel patches. This
531 kernel is designed to allow Linux to run within Linux to run within Linux
532 to ... User Mode Linux is intended for testing and virtual server support.
533 For more information about this amazing tribute to the stability and
534 scalability of Linux, see <uri>http://user-mode-linux.sourceforge.net</uri>.
535 </p>
536
537 <p>
538 For more information on UML and Gentoo, read the
539 <uri link="/doc/en/uml.xml">Gentoo UML Guide</uri>.
540 </p>
541
542 </body>
543 </section>
544 <section>
545 <title>win4lin-sources</title>
546 <body>
547
548 <p>
549 <c>win4lin-sources</c> are patched to support the userland win4lin tools
550 that allow Linux users to run many Microsoft Windows (TM) applications
551 at almost native speeds. See <uri>http://www.netraverse.com/</uri> for more
552 information.
553 </p>
554
555 </body>
556 </section>
557 <section>
558 <title>wolk-sources</title>
559 <body>
560
561 <p>
562 <c>wolk-sources</c> contains the <e>Working Overloaded Linux Kernel</e> from
563 <uri>http://sourceforge.net/projects/wolk</uri>. This kernel contains
564 many patches of a wide variety, all combined into the kernel with
565 extreme care. This allows you to configure nearly every one into and out
566 of the kernel at compile time -- so the kernel will work with nearly any
567 combination of the patches.
568 </p>
569
570 <p>
571 If you need a certain combination of patches that you cannot find in other
572 kernel sources, WOLK is definitely worth a shot.
573 </p>
574
575 </body>
576 </section>
577 </chapter>
578 </guide>

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