Saturday, July 3, 2010
How to get the most out of a Linux desktop? Well, there are so many tricks, tweaks and hacks such as using a just right, well customized kernel, removing unnecessary services, apps, packages, paralleling boot process, using a lightweight window manager and desktop environment....and a dozen others. A long time user often dabbles to do these things of which the first, and perhaps the most important is hacking the kernel fitting impeccably to his/her hardware and working requirements.
Right patches, schedulers and driver stacks readily come to the mind, when you think of compiling a custom kernel. Though this process is not that tedious, it can surely be cryptic and time-consuming. That's why some don't like to kill hours to get that small/big performance and boot enhancements. Fortunately, they can also have a good time with readily brewed performance kernels by a geek named - Damenz.
I hit Damenz's points on web at http://liquorix.net and http://zen-kernel.org in my search for readymade performance kernels. (However, as a hobby I kill my idle hours in rolling out my own kernel for sanity and speed's sake) . Both his websites are full of no-nonsense clean linux stuff where you are welcome with a "Why drive when you can fly?" slogan. I have tried Damenz's 2.6.34 kernel (2.6.34-0.dmz.17-liquorix-686) in Lucid Lynx and Debian Squeeze (testing). I am very pleased at the desktop responsiveness in both.
Damenz's Liquorix zen based kernel is built using a fine tuned desktop configuration and modified debian package scripts to retain non-free kernel blobs. Installing this kernel is very easy. All you need to do is to add:
deb http://liquorix.net/debian sid main
Then do apt-get update. If you get gpg errors during update install the liquorix keyring:
apt-get install '^liquorix-([^-]+-)?keyring.?'
Finally, fire up synaptic to browse and install Liquorix Damenz kernel.
You can also have fun in compiling your kernel from Damenz's kernel sources found at http://liquorix.net/sources
Also, if you are working on an rpm based distro such as Fedora or Suse, you have to compile on your own, Damenz rolls kernels only for Debian Sid and Testing which you can also install on the latest Ubuntu.
Rest assured, you will definitely have a "flying experience" if you have been using only the stock kernel of your favorite distro.