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|Originally Published: Thursday, 11 January 2001||Author: Brian Richardson|
|Published to: enhance_articles_hardware/Hardware Articles||Page: 1/1 - [Printable]|
Kernel Upgrade: Know Your Hardware
Lots of documentation exists describing how to compile the kernel. Now it's time for a document that talks about what to do before the kernel is compiled.
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Now that the 2.4.0 Linux kernel has been officially released, the great orgy of compiling has begun. Thousands of progressive Linux users are downloading kernel sources, preparing to reap the benefits of new and improved hardware support. As the flurry of upgrading goes on, many newer Linux users are searching the Web for kernel assistance. Many kernel help pages tell users how to compile the kernel, but do not explain how to prepare for a new kernel.
The kernel of any operating system provides basic hardware support. Many operating system kernels provide very broad support, allowing one pre-compiled binary to work with a variety of hardware combinations. Linux is unique in that the kernel can be form-fitted to your configuration. Picking the right options at compile time creates a lightweight kernel, optimized for your specific machine.
The question is how to make sure the right options get compiled into your kernel.
Know Your Hardware
The key to proper kernel configuration is knowing exactly what you have in your computer, and what you want to support (note the extreme emphasis on personal choice). The kernel can include modules for many possible devices, or be a minimalist piece of code for your particular beige box. Either way, your system configuration must be known before compilation.
There are many specific things you need to know about your system to build the proper kernel. In general, they break down into the following major groups:
A few last notes before rushing headlong into kernel-land ..
Those present at LWCE 2001 can find Brian Richardson loitering at the Linux.com booth. Linux.com Live! will have a demonstration of the 2.4.0 kernel at the show.
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