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If you want to use the latest sources to build a custom kernel, why not get in touch with the experts here at Proxar IT Consulting who can provide assistance? Unix kernels serve the purpose of mediating for programs and hardware. They manage memory and allocate it to the running programs, ensuring that they all get a fair share of the cycles of the processor. A kernel also provides an interface for programs to talk to the hardware. However, your server may have an increasingly outdated kernel; with a default compilation that lacks advanced security features and/or certain desired modules. That’s why you may appreciate the chance to upgrade the kernel with as little downtime as possible, receiving constant assistance from our custom kernel compilation specialists.

The benefits of compiling a new kernel are vast. They include the ability to handle special hardware requirements or hardware conflicts with kernels that have been pre-supplied, as well as options – such as high memory support – that the pre-supplied kernels do not support. Custom kernel compilation allows you to remove useless drivers to accelerate boot time, as well as to create a kernel that is monolithic rather than modularized. It even gives you the freedom to run an updated or development kernel. The compilation of a new kernel also brings you a potential boost in performance, as well as the ability to enable new features.

An upgraded kernel should have more device drivers, giving it the ability to talk to a wider range of hardware. It should also run faster and offer greater stability than old kernel versions, as well as managing processes better and having fixes for the silly bugs that may blight your present kernel. Custom kernel compilation presents you with the opportunity to reduce RAM usage, given that it will probably be smaller than a generic kernel. Nor does a smaller kernel require as much disk space, while the ability of generic kernels to run on anything probably compromises their performance compared to the custom kernels that have been optimised for quicker, more recent processors. The special hardware requirements that lead to you building a custom kernel, meanwhile, may include sound support. Surely the biggest benefit of all, though, is that an open source platform like Linux gives you, rather than the vendor, the freedom to make those all-important software decisions.

Most default FreeBSD installations are fine with the generic kernels that accompany them. However, the i386 processor architecture only recognises, by default, memory up to 4GB. In the event of the random access memory exceeding 4GB, the feature PAE (Physical Address Extension) will need to be enabled by the kernel so that it can make use of the extended physical address space of the server, from 32-bit to 64-bit. Compilation of the PAE kernel feature boosts the 4GB limit to 64GB. As a general rule, it’s a good idea to re-compile the kernel when the server hardware comes with memory in excess of 4GB. You may, for example, wish to set up a firewall that will be required to do traffic shaping, through QoS (Quality of Service). Although the traffic shaping can be done by PF’s ALTQ feature, the default kernel does not include it by default.

Contact the seasoned professionals at Proxar IT Consulting today to discuss your options when it comes to custom kernel compilation.