Re: 960MB limitation for 2.2 ?

Alain Williams (
Sun, 6 Dec 1998 11:29:15 +0000

On Sat, Dec 05, 1998 at 07:00:29PM +0300, Khimenko Victor wrote:
> 4-Dec-98 23:34 you wrote:
> > Hello,
> >> I'd suggest, changing the late 2.1.1xx kernels NOW to support up to 2GB as
> >> default. It won't break anything, most probably, but if it will, it's better
> >> done now, too.
> >>
> >> This will not only save bad press for Linux but also a large number of
> >> postings to this list.
> >>
> >> It's trivial, actually.
> > No, it isn't. There are lots of people who use 3GB of address space per
> > process on machines with just a few dozen megabytes of RAM.
> How many programs for "normal" (=non computer geek able to recompile kernel :-)
> users requires 3GB address space ? But I bet that A LOT OF peoples not able to
> recompile kernel who will try to use Linux on computers with 1-2Gb of RAM
> before 2.4 (3.0?) will be out... So such change will affect mostly geeks who
> able to help himself but will help to a lot of dumb users who are not able to
> help himself via kernel recompilation.

I quite agree, if someone has a machine with that memory the chances are
that they know what they are doing and will be able to make such
'trivial' changes themselves.

We *must* protect the average (== simple & not interested in kernel
hacking) user. We must make cast iron sure that it will work for them.
It is far too late to put something like this into 2.2, we risk the
'trivial' change causing problems that we don't know about since it
wasn't properly tested.

We also need to help the sort of power user who is capable of kernel hacking,
and who does have such requirements. I think that the best way of doing
this is to distribute with the kernel pointers to how to do this sort of
thing, eg: complete url's to working (but not 100% QAed patches). The
address of a mail list or ftp site isn't enough, it is amazing how much
time can be wasted trying to find something on an ftp site - most are
hopelessly indexed.

This information should go out in a standard (Redhat/SUSE/...)
distribution, somewhere nice an obvious (/usr/src/linux/EXTRA.CONFIG or
something). This is also better that 'hacking it in now' since the ftp
site can presumably be kept up to date and contain the latest/best code.

There also needs to be a set of low volume (== moderated for
announcements only) mail lists that these 'power' users can join to get
the latest of what interestes them. Volume should be at most 1 mail a
week, (even that may be too much).

Like that we can get the best of both worlds: 100% QAed/tested for the
majority of users, but supporting the power user (who isn't interested
in following mail lists like this one).

You need to remember that most people are interested in *running* Linux,
not tinkering with the insides.

Alain Williams

- To unsubscribe from this list: send the line "unsubscribe linux-kernel" in the body of a message to Please read the FAQ at