Linux.com: Kernel Monkeys!Oct 26, 2000, 09:00 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Matt Michie, Mike Baker)
"The kernel is a piece of computer code, that when properly configured and compiled runs and manages all of your programs, user input, disks, memory, and other devices. Typically, after it is compiled, it is stored as a binary in either /vmlinuz or /boot/vmlinuz depending on your setup."
"The first piece of information you need to know, is how to identify different versions of the Linux Kernel. You'll hear someone say something like, "I'm running the 2.2.16 kernel." Let's dissect this number piece by piece. The first number specifies the the overall version number, which in this case, is two. The second number indicates whether the kernel is a "development" kernel or a "stable" kernel. All dev kernels are "odd" and stable kernels are "even". In our example, two is even, therefore this kernel is stable. The final number indicates the minor version number."
"The first step in compiling a kernel is to download the source code. A system of FTP mirrors is setup around the world for this exact purpose. To use the closest mirror substitute your country code (ie .jp, .us, .ca, etc.) for the xx in ftp.xx.kernel.org. For example purposes, we'll use (ftp://ftp.us.kernel.org/pub/linux/kernel/v2.2/)."