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Debian Etch Kernels

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This article will show what changes (related to the debian kernel images) can Debian Sarge users expect to see when Etch will reach stable. Users of Debian testing/sid are already familiar with these changes as they are live in Etch for a while. So what changes will you see in the next Debian stable release? There are many changes, and this article will show the ones related to the Debian kernel packages that are available in the stable release. The examples shown bellow are taken from i386/amd64 systems as they are the most common ones (though most of the changes will apply on all available architectures).

1. First let’s start with the name change in the kernel packages. In Sarge kernel packages are named kernel-image while in Etch they are named linux-image. Not such a big change here, just that you will have to apt for linux-image’s instead of kernel-image’s as you were used to.

  • Sarge: kernel-image

  • Etch: linux-image

2. Next let’s move on to the kernel version. Obviously we will see in Etch a more recent kernel compared to 2.6.8 that is available in Sarge. At this time, the latest kernel image available on Etch is 2.6.17 so we should expect to see in the next Debian stable version at least that, if not 2.6.18. Also the support for 2.4.x has been dropped.

  • Sarge: 2.6.8 / 2.4.27

  • Etch: 2.6.17 (maybe 2.6.18?)

3. Migration from initrd to initramfs. This change happened after the release of 2.6.15 and now the generation of the initrd image is handled by initramfs-tools.

  • Sarge: initrd-tools

  • Etch: initramfs-tools

4. Udev introduction. This has caused different issues in Etch during the time… hopefully all the issues will be solved until Etch will be released as stable (no real problems at this time, but it is not surprising to have new bugs introduced by a new udev version). This again was introduced sometime after kernel 2.6.15 together with initramfs.

  • Sarge: none=static /dev, (devfsd, hotplug)

  • Etch: udev

5. SMP images merged with non-SMP. After the release of linux-image-2.6.17-2 the SMP and non-smp images where integrated into only one image. After this you will no longer find images like linux-image-2.6.16-2-686-smp and linux-image-2.6.16-2-686 but only one image that will detect at run time the presence of a SMP system and enable or disable the SMP code:

  • Sarge: kernel-image-2.6.8-2-686 and kernel-image-2.6.8-2-686-smp

  • Etch: linux-image-2.6.17-2-686

6. EM64T and AMD64 images integrated into a single image. Also after 2.6.17 there are no longer separate kernel images available for amd64/em64t but only one generic image amd64.

  • Sarge: kernel-image-2.6.8-12-amd64-generic and kernel-image-2.6.8-12-amd64-k8 and kernel-image-2.6.8-12-em64t-p4

  • Etch: linux-image-2.6.17-2-amd64

7. xen and vserver kernel images available.

  • Sarge: -

  • Etch: linux-image-2.6.17-2-vserver-686 / linux-image-2.6.17-2-xen-686

8. On i386 architecture there is available now a new special ’bigmem’ image. For systems with 4-64GB of memory. You should probably be better running an AMD64 version of Debian in this case, but anyway if you are on i386 you can use this image.

  • Sarge: -

  • Etch: linux-image-2.6.17-2-686-bigmem

Of course there is still a while until Etch will reach stable and we might see some more changes… You can check out the Debian Wiki for other ‘interesting’ things (not only related to kernel images as this article) that you will see in the next Debian stable release.

Update: many thanks to Gael for pointing out that in Debian Sid kernel 2.6.18 is already available, so there is a high chance to see this version in Etch soon, prior to reach stable. Here is also the direct link to the kernel-2.6 debian package changelog: http://packages.debian.org/changelogs/pool/main/l/linux-2.6/current/changelog

At the end here is a list of the current available kernel images (at the time of writing this article), both on Sarge and Etch taken from a i386 system:

SARGE:

aptitude search kernel-image
v   kernel-image                                   -
v   kernel-image-2.2.25                            -
v   kernel-image-2.4                               -
p   kernel-image-2.4-386                           - Linux kernel image for version 2.4 on 386
p   kernel-image-2.4-586tsc                        - Linux kernel image for version 2.4 on Pentium-Classic
p   kernel-image-2.4-686                           - Linux kernel image for version 2.4 on PPro/Celeron/PII/PI
p   kernel-image-2.4-686-smp                       - Linux kernel image for version 2.4 on PPro/Celeron/PII/PI
p   kernel-image-2.4-k6                            - Linux kernel image for version 2.4 on AMD K6/K6-II/K6-III
p   kernel-image-2.4-k7                            - Linux kernel image for version 2.4 on AMD K7
p   kernel-image-2.4-k7-smp                        - Linux kernel image for version 2.4 on AMD K7 SMP
p   kernel-image-2.4.27-2-386                      - Linux kernel image for version 2.4.27 on 386
p   kernel-image-2.4.27-2-586tsc                   - Linux kernel image for version 2.4.27 on Pentium-Classic
p   kernel-image-2.4.27-2-686                      - Linux kernel image for version 2.4.27 on PPro/Celeron/PII
p   kernel-image-2.4.27-2-686-smp                  - Linux kernel image for version 2.4.27 on PPro/Celeron/PII
p   kernel-image-2.4.27-2-k6                       - Linux kernel image for version 2.4.27 on AMD K6/K6-II/K6-
p   kernel-image-2.4.27-2-k7                       - Linux kernel image for version 2.4.27 on AMD K7
p   kernel-image-2.4.27-2-k7-smp                   - Linux kernel image for version 2.4.27 on AMD K7 SMP
i   kernel-image-2.4.27-3-386                      - Linux kernel image for version 2.4.27 on 386
p   kernel-image-2.4.27-3-586tsc                   - Linux kernel image for version 2.4.27 on Pentium-Classic
p   kernel-image-2.4.27-3-686                      - Linux kernel image for version 2.4.27 on PPro/Celeron/PII
p   kernel-image-2.4.27-3-686-smp                  - Linux kernel image for version 2.4.27 on PPro/Celeron/PII
p   kernel-image-2.4.27-3-k6                       - Linux kernel image for version 2.4.27 on AMD K6/K6-II/K6-
p   kernel-image-2.4.27-3-k7                       - Linux kernel image for version 2.4.27 on AMD K7
p   kernel-image-2.4.27-3-k7-smp                   - Linux kernel image for version 2.4.27 on AMD K7 SMP
p   kernel-image-2.4.27-speakup                    - Linux kernel image for version 2.4.27-speakup
v   kernel-image-2.6                               -
p   kernel-image-2.6-386                           - Linux kernel 2.6 image on 486-class machines - transition
p   kernel-image-2.6-486                           - Linux kernel 2.6 image on 486-class machines - transition
p   kernel-image-2.6-686                           - Linux kernel 2.6 image on PPro/Celeron/PII/PIII/P4 machin
p   kernel-image-2.6-686-smp                       - Linux kernel 2.6 image on PPro/Celeron/PII/PIII/P4 SMP ma
p   kernel-image-2.6-amd64-generic                 - Linux kernel image for version 2.6 on generic x86_64 syst
p   kernel-image-2.6-amd64-k8                      - Linux kernel image for version 2.6 on AMD64 systems
p   kernel-image-2.6-amd64-k8-smp                  - Linux kernel image for version 2.6 on AMD64 SMP systems
p   kernel-image-2.6-em64t-p4                      - Linux kernel image for version 2.6 on Intel EM64T systems
p   kernel-image-2.6-em64t-p4-smp                  - Linux kernel image for version 2.6 on Intel EM64T SMP sys
p   kernel-image-2.6-k7                            - Linux kernel 2.6 image on AMD K7 machines - transition pa
p   kernel-image-2.6-k7-smp                        - Linux kernel 2.6 image on AMD K7 SMP machines - transitio
p   kernel-image-2.6.8-11-amd64-generic            - Linux kernel image for version 2.6.8 on generic x86_64 sy
p   kernel-image-2.6.8-11-amd64-k8                 - Linux kernel image for version 2.6.8 on AMD64 systems
p   kernel-image-2.6.8-11-amd64-k8-smp             - Linux kernel image for version 2.6.8 on AMD64 SMP systems
p   kernel-image-2.6.8-11-em64t-p4                 - Linux kernel image for version 2.6.8 on Intel EM64T syste
p   kernel-image-2.6.8-11-em64t-p4-smp             - Linux kernel image for version 2.6.8 on Intel EM64T SMP s
p   kernel-image-2.6.8-12-amd64-generic            - Linux kernel image for version 2.6.8 on generic x86_64 sy
p   kernel-image-2.6.8-12-amd64-k8                 - Linux kernel image for version 2.6.8 on AMD64 systems
p   kernel-image-2.6.8-12-amd64-k8-smp             - Linux kernel image for version 2.6.8 on AMD64 SMP systems
p   kernel-image-2.6.8-12-em64t-p4                 - Linux kernel image for version 2.6.8 on Intel EM64T syste
p   kernel-image-2.6.8-12-em64t-p4-smp             - Linux kernel image for version 2.6.8 on Intel EM64T SMP s
p   kernel-image-2.6.8-2-386                       - Linux kernel image for version 2.6.8 on 386.
p   kernel-image-2.6.8-2-686                       - Linux kernel image for version 2.6.8 on PPro/Celeron/PII/
p   kernel-image-2.6.8-2-686-smp                   - Linux kernel image for version 2.6.8 on PPro/Celeron/PII/
p   kernel-image-2.6.8-2-k7                        - Linux kernel image for version 2.6.8 on AMD K7.
p   kernel-image-2.6.8-2-k7-smp                    - Linux kernel image for version 2.6.8 on AMD K7 SMP.
p   kernel-image-2.6.8-3-386                       - Linux kernel image for version 2.6.8 on 386.
i   kernel-image-2.6.8-3-686                       - Linux kernel image for version 2.6.8 on PPro/Celeron/PII/
p   kernel-image-2.6.8-3-686-smp                   - Linux kernel image for version 2.6.8 on PPro/Celeron/PII/
p   kernel-image-2.6.8-3-k7                        - Linux kernel image for version 2.6.8 on AMD K7.
p   kernel-image-2.6.8-3-k7-smp                    - Linux kernel image for version 2.6.8 on AMD K7 SMP.
v   kernel-image-netboot                           -
p   kernel-image-netbootable                       - net-bootable kernel for use with diskless systems

ETCH:

aptitude search linux-image
v   linux-image                                     -
v   linux-image-2.6                                 -
p   linux-image-2.6-486                             - Linux kernel 2.6 image on 486-class
p   linux-image-2.6-686                             - Linux kernel 2.6 image on PPro/Celeron/PII/PIII/P4
p   linux-image-2.6-686-bigmem                      - Linux kernel 2.6 image on PPro/Celeron/PII/PIII/P4
p   linux-image-2.6-686-smp                         - Linux 2.6 image on PPro/Celeron/PII/PIII/P4 SMP - transit
p   linux-image-2.6-k7                              - Linux kernel 2.6 image on AMD K7
p   linux-image-2.6-k7-smp                          - Linux 2.6 image on AMD K7 SMP - transition package
p   linux-image-2.6-vserver-686                     - Linux kernel 2.6 image on PPro/Celeron/PII/PIII/P4
p   linux-image-2.6-vserver-k7                      - Linux kernel 2.6 image on AMD K7
p   linux-image-2.6-xen-686                         - Linux kernel 2.6 image on PPro/Celeron/PII/PIII/P4
p   linux-image-2.6-xen-k7                          - Linux kernel 2.6 image on AMD K7
p   linux-image-2.6.16-2-486                        - Linux kernel 2.6.16 image on 486-class machines
p   linux-image-2.6.16-2-686                        - Linux kernel 2.6.16 image on PPro/Celeron/PII/PIII/P4 mac
i   linux-image-2.6.16-2-686-smp                    - Linux kernel 2.6.16 image on PPro/Celeron/PII/PIII/P4 SMP
p   linux-image-2.6.16-2-k7                         - Linux kernel 2.6.16 image on AMD K7 machines
p   linux-image-2.6.16-2-k7-smp                     - Linux kernel 2.6.16 image on AMD K7 SMP machines
p   linux-image-2.6.16-2-vserver-686                - Linux kernel 2.6.16 image on PPro/Celeron/PII/PIII/P4 mac
p   linux-image-2.6.16-2-vserver-k7                 - Linux kernel 2.6.16 image on AMD K7 machines
p   linux-image-2.6.16-2-xen-686                    - Linux kernel 2.6.16 image on PPro/Celeron/PII/PIII/P4 mac
p   linux-image-2.6.16-2-xen-k7                     - Linux kernel 2.6.16 image on AMD K7 machines
p   linux-image-2.6.16-2-xen-vserver-686            - Linux kernel 2.6.16 image on PPro/Celeron/PII/PIII/P4 mac
p   linux-image-2.6.17-2-486                        - Linux 2.6.17 image on 486-class
i   linux-image-2.6.17-2-686                        - Linux 2.6.17 image on PPro/Celeron/PII/PIII/P4
p   linux-image-2.6.17-2-686-bigmem                 - Linux 2.6.17 image on PPro/Celeron/PII/PIII/P4
p   linux-image-2.6.17-2-k7                         - Linux 2.6.17 image on AMD K7
p   linux-image-2.6.17-2-vserver-686                - Linux 2.6.17 image on PPro/Celeron/PII/PIII/P4
p   linux-image-2.6.17-2-vserver-k7                 - Linux 2.6.17 image on AMD K7
p   linux-image-2.6.17-2-xen-686                    - Linux 2.6.17 image on PPro/Celeron/PII/PIII/P4
p   linux-image-2.6.17-2-xen-k7                     - Linux 2.6.17 image on AMD K7
p   linux-image-486                                 - Linux kernel image on 486-class
p   linux-image-686                                 - Linux kernel image on PPro/Celeron/PII/PIII/P4
p   linux-image-686-bigmem                          - Linux kernel image on PPro/Celeron/PII/PIII/P4
p   linux-image-k7                                  - Linux kernel image on AMD K7
p   linux-image-vserver-686                         - Linux kernel image on PPro/Celeron/PII/PIII/P4
p   linux-image-vserver-k7                          - Linux kernel image on AMD K7
p   linux-image-xen-686                             - Linux kernel image on PPro/Celeron/PII/PIII/P4
p   linux-image-xen-k7                              - Linux kernel image on AMD K7

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