I’ve been building kernels for a very long time. In fact, I even wrote my own kernel HOWTO describing how to do it.
When I install a new Linux distribution from original media, the first thing I do, is replace the stock kernel with my own custom build, which is optimized for my own environment (tuning HZ, removing unused drivers, patching some other interfaces, etc.).
When I moved from Debian to Ubuntu, building kernels became a problem. All of the kernels I’d try to build from the upstream source would fail to complete a boot. At first, I thought it was something with mkinitrd(1). I tried to fix that and it would still fail to complete a boot.
So I started looking for some better options, and came up with this very small HOWTO:
- Download the latest kernel source that you want to run. If you want THE latest kernel source, you can pull Linus’ tree directly as follows:
git-clone git://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/linux/kernel/git/torvalds/linux-2.6.git linux-2.6
- Unpack it into whatever directory you want to use as scratch space. I tend to unpack the kernel source into $HOME/src, but you can use another location if you want. (Remember: Do not EVER build kernels as ‘root’, ever!)
- You’ll want to start with the same configuration that your running Linux kernel is using, and optimize from there. To do that, just do the following:
zcat /proc/config.gz > config.new
Or you can do:
cat /boot/config-`uname -r` > config.new
- Copy that into your unpacked kernel source tree as .config
cp config.new $HOME/src/linux-2.6/.config
- Now merge your existing config with the new features in the new kernel
- Install some of the necessary build tools for Ubuntu (or Debian)
sudo apt-get install linux-kernel-devel fakeroot kernel-wedge kernel-package sudo apt-get build-dep linux-source
- Now just build the kernel source you’ve prepared
make-kpkg --rootcmd fakeroot --initrd --append-to-version=-<custom_string_here> kernel-image kernel-headers
- That’s it! The kernel .deb packages will be in ../ after your build, and you can then go ahead and install them as root.
sudo dpkg -i linux-headers-2.6.23-rc1-gnu_2.6.23-rc1-gnu-10.00.Custom_i386.deb sudo dpkg -i linux-image-2.6.23-rc1-gnu_2.6.23-rc1-gnu-10.00.Custom_i386.deb
That’s it. Now I can get back to a productive, working environment with the latest kernels on my laptop running Ubuntu, without much fuss.