PAE (Physical Address Extension) is a feature of the x86 architecture that allows 32-bit processors to address more than 4 GB of physical memory.
This is useful for systems with large amounts of RAM, as it allows the operating system to use all of the available memory rather than being limited to the 4 GB address space.
The “kernel-PAE” package in Linux is a version of the kernel that has been compiled with support for PAE. It is typically used on systems with more than 4 GB of RAM.
This is a problem that 32-bit systems have since they cannot map more than 3GB of RAM, so the kernel is prepared so that in 32-bit systems we can use RAM memories of more than 3GB.
To find out the basic information of the system such as, distribution, kernel version etc we type in the console:
If we want to install a kernel with PAE support we can install the generic kernel:
aptitude install linux-generic-pae
Or install it depending on the version we want. At the end of the kernel download from the repositories it is always convenient to install the kernel headers, to avoid problems with modules or drivers:
aptitude install linux-headers-$(uname -r)
Where “uname -r” shows the kernel version in memory.
With this, distributions that are 32 bits and that have more than 3 GB of RAM memory can be mapped without problems, thus being able to take advantage of all the memory.