24 February 2013

344. Compile a kernel (3.8) without using kpkg

Note: There is a much better and easier way: http://verahill.blogspot.com.au/2013/02/342-compiling-kernel-38-on-debian.html . What follows is just done for the sake of exploration.

Post begins:
It is incredibly easy to compile your own kernel on Debian using kernel-package. See e.g. http://verahill.blogspot.com.au/2013/02/342-compiling-kernel-38-on-debian.html

In the interest of learning how to compile a kernel in a more generic way which is applicable to non-debian systems (arch, red hat etc.), here's a method which doesn't rely on kpkg (kernel-package).

The downside is that this method does not produce a set of .deb files, and that you can't uninstall it using apt.

I'll be brief since most things are covered e.g. here.  I looked at this post when writing this.

sudo apt-get install build-essential ncurses-bin
mkdir ~/tmp
cd ~/tmp
wget http://www.kernel.org/pub/linux/kernel/v3.0/linux-3.8.tar.bz2
tar xvf linux-3.8.tar.bz2
cd linux-3.8/
cat /boot/config-`uname -r`>.config
make oldconfig

Once you're done answering the questions, do

time make -j3

This takes 29 minutes (AMD Athlon II X3).

time make -j3 modules

This takes 4 minutes. Finish by running

sudo make modules_install
sudo make headers_install INSTALL_HDR_PATH=/usr/src/linux-3.8.0
sudo make install

Note that the default path for the headers is /usr/include, which doesn't play well with most programs that check for the presence of headers before installation, so use INSTALL_HDR_PATH to specify the destination (at least on debian).

make install takes care of initramfs and grub-update as well and generates
And that's really it -- compiling a kernel even without kernel-packages is pretty easy. Reboot and everything should be in working order.

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