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Does the PREEMPT_RT patch (real-time kernel) have any benefit for regular desktop users?

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

I don't think so. The patch seems to provide real-time scheduling which is very important for some enviroments (planes, nuclear reactors etc.) but overkill for regular desktop. The current kernels however seems to be enough "real-time" and "preemptive" for regular desktop users[1].

It may be useful if you work with high quality audio recording and playing in which even small amount of time may dramatically reduce the quality.

[1] Technically both are 0/1 features but I guess it is clear what I mean ;)

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can we change kernel scheduler on the fly, just like cpu_governor? – uray Sep 7 '10 at 12:51
you cannot change kernel scheduler like CFS or BFS. However you CAN change scheduling properties by schedtool on the fly (priority, make process as interactive/batch etc.) – Maciej Piechotka Sep 7 '10 at 17:30

I'm guessing you misunderstand the concept of 'real-timeness'. If not, sorry, but it happens a lot, and I thought I'd throw a little clarification in here.

The main point of a real-time kernel is to serve requests within a predictable deadline. That does not necessarily mean faster than a 'normal' kernel. So for desktop systems, a preemptive kernel is good, a real-time kernel much less so.

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I do understand a little bit about real-time application, and I did developed soft-realtime applications for embedded systems, and I understood that it won't give "faster" experience, but in theory it should give more "responsive" user interactions, isn't that true? – uray Sep 13 '10 at 15:36
Not necessarily. As far as I understand it, it will give you applications with a predictable response time. – wzzrd Sep 13 '10 at 19:06
And since the total processing power of a CPU is constant (simplifying a bit), and context switches cost CPU power, it's likely that some things could become slower (but still responsive to a certain response time). – Alexios Jun 7 '12 at 9:12

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