Phil's Linux 2.6 Notes

I recently upgraded to the 2.6 linux kernel, which, as of this writing, is still a beta kernel. I've found it to be stable and much better than the 2.4 series kernel. However, as with any beta software, there are some gotchas. I'm documenting mine here.

First, a nice guide I used to brief me on the upgrade:
How To Upgrade To The 2.6 Kernel
This may also be helpful:
Migrating to Linux 2.6

That will get you most of the basics like why modutils won't work, etc. Here are my additions:

ALSA Sound Drivers
It doesn't say this in the above guides, but it does in the Documentation directory in the linux source code. You need to run the scripts/MAKEDEV.snd script to create your device files. You will also want to grab the latest alsa-lib and alsa-utils packages from the ALSA Project.

Below is stuff specific to my hardware:

nVidia Graphics Cards
nVidia provides binary drivers for their graphics cares, but the stubs need to be compiled against your kernel headers. Their stock drivers won't compile against 2.6 kernels. But you can find patches at

Note that if you use glibc >= 2.3 you you have problems with the driver not working... you need the 'tls' version of glx libraries that you install with the nvidia driver. Follow the instructions as usual, but then overwrite /usr/X11R6/lib/modules/extensions/ with .../NVIDIA-Linux-x86-1.0-4496-pkg0/usr/lib/tls/ (the make file will use the one from the lib directory instead of the lib/tls directory). See this post at the nVidia Linux boards and this bug from Debian.

Exilim Digital Cameras
I submitted a bug that my camera worked, but caused errors in 2.6.0-test5 and received a patch that I thought worked, but didn't. That patch made it into -test7. I reported it didn't actually work and they provided another patch that works very well. You can find it in the mailing list archive here.
Update: This patch has made it into -test9 and test9 works like a charm!

VIA Sound Cards
If you have a VIA sound card and you don't have sound after upgrading, check to see if you are getting a kernel OOPS in your dmesgs as seen here. If you are, grab the patch linked to there, apply it to test7, recompile and you should be set to go. I had 3 chunks fail. One was on a the config help file which doesn't affect anything, the other two were in code, but looking at the reject file and the patch it was very clear what was supposed to change: as I recall the 'unlock' line moved down by one line.
Update: This patch has made it into -test8, so don't patch the -test8 source.

Other than that, 2.6 has treated me very well so far.

This page is © Phil Dibowitz 2001 - 2004