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Just upgraded Angband, my main workstation, from kernel 2.4 to 2.6.5. The upgrade went with no real problems, and everything runs really smooth. Feels quite fast too.



I spent some hours upgrading Isengard, my laptop, to the latest 2.4 and 2.6 kernels. I never had any luck with the 2.6 kernels, as hardly anything worked, so I didn't expect much of the new 2.6.3 kernel. But lo and behold : I got a decent framebuffer screen at boot. I noticed some progress with the 2.6.2 kernel, where I barely saw some text scrolling by, but 2.6.3 has everything running smoothly. Except for my Xircom PCMCIA card, which freezes the laptop, but that seems to be a bug in the driver. Tomorrow, I'll give a patch a run, and see if that will solve the problem.

Greater security


I'm not really a guy who installs every new Linux kernel, but in general I like to follow in the slipstream of newer kernels. In practice, that means I'm maximum 3 or 4 kernel releases behind (I tend to follow the 2.2 kernel branch too). So now that Linux-2.4.23 has been released this weekend, and that my firewall was happily running 2.4.20, I decided to upgrade the box to 2.4.23. I wanted to increase significantly the security, by patching the kernel with the grsec patch, aka GReater SECurity. It's a modification in the line of big iron Unices, where the kernel is provided with ACLs, several randomizer like PIDs, auditing and security restrictions. I still have some tweaking to do, like tightening the kernel module loader, but in general, I'm quite satisfied with the result.

Linux 2.6 and VMware


Linux 2.6 is almost here; there are still some issues with VMware and Nvidia drivers, but these wil be fixed soon (I'll guess VMware will release their part after the official 2.6 announce). In the meantime, follow this procedure for VMware :

VMWare works fine in 2.6, given that you install the updates at Just get vmware-any-any-update45.tar.gz and run the install script. Then re-run Make sure that your 2.6 kernel doesn't have preempting enabled (this can cause some crashes) and you're all set.

The great package management battle


Ladislav Bodnar compared different package management systems on the major Linux distributions out there, like apt-get, urpmi and yum. Debian is the overall winner, but Mandrake's urpmi had some very good points too. Interesting quote about Redhat/Fedora : Although yum is now in rawhide, I don't expect to see it in a released version of RHL or RHEL. Why do I say this? Because the newest up2date that will ship with the upcoming RHEL and RHL now supports remote "yum" and "apt" repositories in addition to the native "rhn-style" repositories. Since up2date now speaks all languages (rhn, apt, yum) there is no need to ship those other tools.


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