Recently, I got a dual Athlon MP machine, and I decide to install Linux on it and use it as my database server. I has tried serveral popular Linux distributions, include RedHat 7.2, Mandrake 8.1, and Suse 7.1. However, none of the distributions could function properly on my machine. RedHat can detect and install an SMP kernel for me, but my machine is hung up while booting. Mandrake and Suse just install me a kernel for single processor, and they work fine (but consider my machine as a single processor system).
It's your call, but please don't confuse "Linux not SMP ready", with "athensy not Linux ready". It works fine for most people.
There really should not be a lot to configure to run in SMP mode. Install the new kernel, add an entry for Grub or Lilo if needed. Reboot. If you choose to re-install from scratch, try selecting "Individual Package Selection", and select the smp kernel then. It should then be an option at boot time.
I don't know why the mainstream distributions don't supply the default kernels with SMP support enabled... but I guess not many people need it.
athensy, RedHat 7.0 on a dual PII. I'd like to help you get things going, but I need to know exactly what the problems are. If you can tell me what went wrong, error messages, and what you've tried, I can give it a shot. Otherwise, I'm just guessing.
Red_Zealot, a fresh kernel is nice, but I really don't think it's required. All of the current distros ship with an smp capable kernel on the cdrom. No-one should have to compile just to get a working box, especially not someone new to Linux.