"You've been putting it off for awhile now. You've been hoping
that you wouldn't have to do it, but you've come to the point where
it's unavoidable. Perhaps you need additional hardware support, or
need to enable a particular networking option. For whatever reason,
it's time to perform a traditional Linux rite of passage: the
compilation of the kernel."
"First, let's talk a bit about the kernel itself. The kernel is
the core of the operating system. It performs the essential
operations of the system, controls your hardware, etc. Support for
hardware can either be compiled directly into the kernel, or as a
module. What is a module? Well, it's just a chunk of code that has
compiled separately and resides in a directory (/lib/modules/)
along with other modules, grouped by function. You can think of
them in the same terms as the device drivers that you may be
familiar with from Windows. These modules can then be "linked" into
the kernel while it is running. What this basically means is that
you can dynamically add and remove hardware support at will. It
also means that you can upgrade (recompile) a module without having
to recompile the whole kernel. Using modules is generally the
preferred way of doing things in Linux."
"It's always a good idea to recompile your kernel after you
install Linux. Why? The "stock" kernel that is installed is
somewhat bloated, because it tries to support a wide range of
hardware. Also, it may not contain support for a certain feature
that you require, such as IP Masquerading (using a Linux computer
as a "gateway" in order to share an Internet connection). Or,
perhaps you just wish to upgrade your kernel to the latest version.
For newer users, I'd recommend that you stick to the so-called
"production" kernels, which have even numbers after the first
"point". For instance, 2.2.16 would be considered "production", or
stable, while 2.3.99 is considered a "development" version and may
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