Wednesday, March 30, 2005

compiling kernel the Debian way

No, I'm not avid fan of Debian, but I use it in work and I like it's speed and simplicity. For a note, here's how to compile kernel with Debian (Woody) in a flash.

First login to your Debian machine on the command line as root. Install the prerequisites that we need to compile the new kernel:

#apt-get install kernel-package ncurses-dev fakeroot wget bzip2

Then go to /usr/src:

#cd /usr/src

Then get the latest Linux kernel source (or the kernel source you need) from


Unpack the kernel sources:

#tar xjf linux-2.4.23.tar.bz2

#cd linux-2.4.23/

It is normally a good idea to take the configuration of your existing (working!) kernel as a starting point for the configuration of your new kernel. Usually the current kernel configuration is saved in a file under /boot, e.g. /boot/config-2.4.18-bf2.4. We will load this configuration and then do the changes we desire (e.g. add quota support, iptables support, etc.).

make menuconfig

Then run the following commands:

make dep
make-kpkg clean
fakeroot make-kpkg –revision=custom.1.0 kernel_image

If the compilation stops with an error, run

make clean

and then re-run the previous commands starting with

make menuconfig

Change the kernel configuration where the error occurs (e.g., the compilation often gives back errors for some WAN modules, so leave them out if you do not need them). If no error occurs you will find the new kernel as a Debian package called kernel-image-2.4.23_custom.1.0_i386.deb under /usr/src.

cd ../

Now you can install the new kernel by doing the following:

dpkg -i kernel-image-2.4.23_custom.1.0_i386.deb

We are almost finished now. Reboot your machine:

shutdown -r now

and if everything is ok your machine should come up with the new kernel. You can run

uname -a

to verify that.

Good luck!

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