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How to compile the Linux kernel

Mar 13, 2010, 08:02 (0 Talkback[s])

"Do you want to remove bloat from your Linux installation? Are you looking to enable extra features that aren't provided by your distro? Fancy trying some of the cutting-edge patches doing the rounds? You'll need to recompile your kernel, and while it might look like black magic if you've never done it before, it's actually pretty straightforward. Read on for everything you need to know...

"There is a phrase guaranteed to strike terror into the heart of new Linux users, especially those who are wary of venturing too far from the GUI. It is simply: "Recompile your kernel and..." To the unitiated, this is a rite of passage daunting enough to rival lion killing or scarification. To run a home-brewed kernel is to enter the realm of the hardcore Linux user. But leaving aside matters of pride, why should you compile your own kernel? There are a number of possible answers:

* To remove bloat Distro kernels generally support a wide range of hardware, most of which you probably haven't even heard of.
* To enable extra features or drivers Murphy's Law implies that in spite of the previous statement, the one item that will not be included will be the hardware you just bought.
* To use a newer kernel than your distro provides You might want to do this for later hardware support, more security or just because you want to.
* To patch the kernel There are several patches that have not yet made it into the main kernel tree; some never will. If you want to use the special real time kernel (-rt series) or one of many other patches, you'll have to patch the source and then compile your own kernel."

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