"Last week, we discussed the basics of kernel compilation:
what the kernel is, why you might want to compile one, and
resources for more specific help. By popular request, we are
pleased to present a second installment of the series, in which
we'll provide our own step-by-step guide to actually performing the
necessary configuration and compilation. Our goal will be to get
you up and running as painlessly as possible."
"The first step, naturally, is to download the kernel source.
Depending on your distribution, this procedure may vary. For my
Debian system, getting the kernel source is as simple as "apt-get
install kernel-source-2.2.15" (or whatever version you want to
use). The traditional way to get the source is by visiting
then choosing the appropriate version. You'll probably want to
stick with the stable kernel series, the latest of which is 2.2.15
as of this writing. You'll notice that there are two different
types of kernel packages: one that ends with .gz, and one that ends
with .bz2. This indicates the type of compression that was used.
Bzip2 does a better job of compression, so you'll probably want to
download the .bz2 package, but you will need the bzip2 utilities
installed to extract it. Or, you can simply get the .gz package and
use gzip. When in doubt, use gzip; although bzip2 is increasing in
popularity, it may not have been installed with your
"Now that you've got the source, it's time to extract it. If you
used your distribution's packaging system, it's probably already
been extracted for you. At any rate, you'll want to become root by
typing "su" at the command line, then your root password, and head
to the /usr/src directory by typing "cd /usr/src". You may already
have the current linux source there, in /usr/src/linux. If you've
got the disk space, you should probably keep it around, just in
case. Rename the directory to reflect its version number (for
example, "mv linux linux-2.2.12"). Move the new kernel to the
/usr/src directory. Now, unpack your kernel if you downloaded it by
hand. For gzipped files, use "tar -zxvf (filename)". For bzipped
files, use "tar -Ixvf (filename)". This will create a new "linux"
directory, containing the kernel source in all its glory. If you
used your distribution's packaging system instead of downloading
the kernel by hand, it may have extracted the source into a
directory labeled with the kernel version. In that case, you can
either create a symlink (using the "ln" command) from that
directory to /usr/src/linux, or rename it."
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