What kernel do you use?

Greetings lovely community,

Typically when I install a distro I like to have two kernels installed, one current with the mainline kernel (as of writing that’s 5.13) and also one LTS kernel (as of writing 5.10), as a backup in case anything goes wrong with the mainline one. Now I noticed that the EndeavourOS team put together a lovely little application called akm also known as the “simple kernel manager” and it also shows two other kernel options to install, hardened and zen kernels respectively.

Question One: What is the purpose of the hardened and zen kernels are, is it even necessary I need to install them or is sticking with the mainline and LTS kernels just fine enough for now, please do let me know.

Question Two: I’d also love to what what everyone’s kernel of choice is to get a healthy discussion going, so please feel free to show/share what kernel you prefer to run and why!

Below is a quick screenshot to show off the akm application that helps you to install/remove some kernels easily in EndeavourOS!

Screenshot from 2021-08-02 11-18-50

Edit: Forgot to mention I have an Acer Aspire model E5-576G-5762 laptop if that’s worth mentioning in regards to my question about the hardened and zen kernels

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Lts forever.

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I use LTS almost all the time. I keep mainline installed, and also Zen, just for a couple of games that run slightly better on it.

On my laptop I use 4.19 :slight_smile:

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LTS, except when i have cutting edge hardware on hand which doesn’t function properly on LTS yet :partying_face:

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Unless you have a specific reason not to, I always recommend using the LTS kernel. It is much less prone to breakages. Arch usually gets new mainline kernels very soon after initial release so there are often issues/conflicts with certain hardware.

The zen kernel has some different options enabled than the mainline/lts kernels do. Generally speaking, they are intended to improve responsiveness/performance. People have mixed success with zen so it is something you would need to try for yourself.

The hardened kernel is more locked down from a security perspective. However, the additional security comes at the cost of functionality and convenience so, again, it depends on your personal needs.

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I use the hardened kernel.

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I just use the current kernel. Don’t use the lts. Sometimes i use zen.

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I typically have 3 loaded - standard, zen and lts. Normally I am on zen - I think of it as free extra performance (however slight) without a detectable downside. Plus, ZFS with zen is somehow satisfying! :grin:

The other are just there ‘because’ and ‘in case’ - and I haven’t needed them in years. I suspect that it works the same way as carrying an umbrella often does - if you are prepared, it doesn’t happen! :grin:

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Mainline and LTS as a backup.

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I use zen and lqx.

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ZEN
LTS as backup

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Thank you for reminding me of that one! I am having issues with zen and my 6700XT at the moment. I will try that one tonight.

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As I have relatively new hardware, I usually tend to stick to the latest kernel with the zen patches. I don’t mind breakages, they’re fun!

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Current Arch as primary and LTS in case I need to boot into it to fix something/downgrade something. I haven’t had to boot into LTS in about 6 months or so.

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I use the Zen for some added performance and slightly better multitasking and The LTS as a backup

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I’m currently rolling Zen kernel /w an ancient 1st gen Intel iSeries xd

Haven’t had a single issue since install and the performance difference is noticeable, it’s not huge tho.

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Mainline & LTS, although I usually boot the mainline kernel because it is auto-selected on systemd-boot. May switch to zen though if anbox gets mature enough

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Do you know how to set which kernel you want to be the default on boot? Right now I generally use the 5.13 mainline kernel since it works just fine on my laptop, but I always have to scroll down to select it first before booting up. The LTS kernel is always selected by default for me, but I wouldn’t mind knowing the command(s) for how to switch between setting one or the other to be the default on boot if you happen to know how, that’d be awesome :slight_smile:

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/etc/default/grub

GRUB_DEFAULT=2

where 0 would be first entry :wink:

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I’m guessing you make use of grub for booting - if so there are 2 ways of achieveing that result. One is to set it to save last used as a default - and the other is to set the default to a numeric value corresponding to your choice. Either way, the highlight will be on your preferred choice at boot.

I don’t use grub myself anymore, so I can’t give guaranteed details beyond that it requires editing the file /etc/default/grub, which is fairly well commented for clarity…
BTW - I think I remember that the count starts at 0 for choosing which line to default to…

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