Kernel 386 installed instead of 686

Colin Watson cjwatson at
Fri Sep 30 00:27:43 UTC 2005

On Thu, Sep 29, 2005 at 04:53:02PM -0400, Matt Patterson wrote:
> Ubuntu ships with a lot of precompiled kernel modules, this requires a 
> standardized kernel. This is one of the MAJOR improvements that ubuntu 
> introduces to linux. Why do you think it is so easy to have standardized 
> drivers in windows? Because the kernel NEVER changes. Thus by running 
> the default kernel you are guaranteed to have the same thing that the 
> developer and tester had.

With respect, I think you're rewriting history a fair bit here. The
reason Ubuntu CDs only include (and therefore only install) the 386
kernel is because of CD space limitations, not because of
standardisation. The distinction among kernel optimisation settings
rarely makes a difference to third-party modules, but even if it does
there are plenty of tools in Ubuntu to make it easy to rebuild them for
any of the optimised kernels.

Since the Linux kernel deliberately does not export a stable binary
interface, any third party module vendor must either provide precompiled
binaries for a single release of a single distribution (which is an
ultimately doomed approach, although vendors have been doing it for
years with Red Hat; Ubuntu is by no means the first distribution to ship
precompiled kernel packages!), or else provide the user with the means
to rebuild the module for their current kernel. For obvious reasons, we
much prefer vendors to do the latter, although they certainly might want
to certify particular releases.

> I am very happy about the standardized kernel and was disappointed to
> find that the hoary install dvd seems to be smart enough to install
> different kernels.

The install CD has the same smartness, but doesn't have any material to
work with because we decided we'd rather do other things with the
available CD space than include lots of kernel images on it.

I really don't think the optimised kernel packages cause a real
standardisation problem.


Colin Watson                                       [cjwatson at]

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