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[K12OSN] The need for speed...



So things were pretty quiet in Parkrose School District today and it
was time to move our K12LTSP server at our middle school from 3.0.1 to
3.1.0. I had all the home dirs backed up (you do have a backup, don't
you?) so I thought I'd nuke the partitions and start from scratch.

I've been using Gentoo on my desktop lately and had been impressed by
the interactive performance when using their "gaming-sources" which
appears to be a fairly vanilla kernel.org kernel w/ a set of patches
organized by Con Kolivas, a kernel hacker. These patches include
backports of a few performance-oriented 2.5 features ( O(1) scheduler,
preemptive kernel, etc). See
http://members.optusnet.com.au/ckolivas/kernel/ for more information
on specific patches. Additionally, the 2.4.21 kernel was released
today. Red-letter day! I'd been pleased w/ my experiences w/ the
Reiser filesystem also. Time for some tweaking!

I'd say that this definitely not for the weak-hearted or those w/o
good backups. Not that it's difficult by any stretch. It's just that
you get to keep all 4327 pieces if/when it breaks, having eaten all of
your data. I wouldn't recommend doing this for anything but kicks. Now
that I'm thinking about it, I'm fairly sure the vanilla kernel +
ck-patches doesn't includes any NPTL stuff. How does this even work?

Here's what I did to breathe fire into our terminal server.
Incidentally, it's one of those Penguin Computing boxes similar to
what Richard Ingalls reviewed recently. Dual 2.4GHz Xeons w/
hyperthreading, 3 GB RAM and mirrored 18 GB U160 SCSI drives. This
serves 40 terminals.

--reiserfs--

So Redhat includes support for the reiserfs filesystem. Don't mistake
support for (Capital S) Support. I'd wager a Redhat tech wouldn't give
you the time of day if you're not using ext2/3. Go to
http://www.namesys.com/ to find why reiser is way neato. To make a
reiserfs partition at install time, you just need to start the install
by typing "linux reiserfs" at the boot prompt. Then partition as
usual, selecting reiserfs for your /foo partition in Disk Druid.


--CK patched kernel--

1. Download the vanilla 2.4.21 kernel.
ftp://ftp.kernel.org/pub/linux/kernel/v2.4/linux-2.4.21.tar.bz2

2. Download Con Kolivas' 2.4.21-ck1-patch.
http://members.optusnet.com.au/ckolivas/kernel/0306111747_2.4.21-ck1.patch.bz2

3. Untar the kernel and apply the patch.
% tar -xvjf linux-2.4.21.tar.bz2
% bzcat 0306111747_2.4.21-ck1.patch.bz2 | patch -p0 -E

(The patch didn't apply entirely cleanly. I don't care because this
server isn't in production. Do you value you data? If so, STOP NOW.)

4. Download and install Redhat's kernel sources from which to steal a
known good ".config". I "rpm -ivh"ed the kernel SRPM and copied the
i686-smp.config from the /usr/src/redhat/SOURCES folder into the
2.4.21 kernel source.

5. "cd" to the 2.4.21 source dir. "make oldconfig" to use the redhat
.config file we stole from the last step. Answer questions when
prompted. I did a "make menuconfig" after this to select "Pentium 4"
as the processor type.

5. "make dep && make clean bzImage modules modules_install install"
The install part will run a shell script that will install your kernel
image and include it in /etc/grub.conf.

6. Reboot and hold on to your hats. Select 2.4.21 from the grub menu,
if appropriate.

Since all the users have left for the summer, I can't get a great
sense of how it does under a typical load. <shrug> Seems really fast
though! :-)

Cheers,

-Dan Young
-Parkrose School District





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