Removing kernel options and devices in today's world

Andrew P. infofarmer at
Tue Nov 1 16:04:36 PST 2005

On 10/29/05, Doug Poland <doug at> wrote:
> Hello,
> I've been using FreeBSD since 2.1.5 and have dutifully tweaked my
> kernels to include devices I need, and remove unwanted things.  This
> made a big difference on 486's with 16MB of memory.
> Over the years I've developed a procedure for keeping track of changes
> in GENERIC and reducing the amount of time it takes to build a custom
> kernel for a given box.
> Fast-forward to 2005, PCI, SMP, gigabytes of RAM, kernel loadable
> modules and FreeBSD 6.x.  As I begin preparing some boxes for updating
> to 6, I'm wondering if it's really worth the effort to tweak a kernel?
> And by this I mean removing devices and options.  It's trivial to have
> an include for the devices/options I need to add to every kernel.  But
> the list of things to take out keeps getting bigger and bigger and the
> chance for errors in editing increase.
> I'm thinking of just running GENERIC with necessary additions.  Most of
> my boxes are workstations or department-sized servers supporting basic
> web, email, and file/print services.   Architecture is all 32-bit Intel
> ranging from modest PIII to 4-way Xeon P4.
> I can come up with several arguments for both cases (running GENERIC vs.
> trimming all unneeded "fat" from a kernel).  Has anyone else wrestled with
> this issue and come up with interesting conclusions?
> --
> Regards,
> Doug
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I leave almost everything on my desktop machines, but
who needs usb, firewire and wifi on a production DB

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