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Man... 3 minutes.. *drools* takes me about 15-20 (est. time), which still isn't bad considering this is only an 866Mhz w/384Mb RAM. It only takes about 5 on my 2.1Gig with 256Mbs, but that's why I use it for a server instead, especially considering the video sucks in it...
Taz and I used to compare thse a lot through the rabbit release times during the 2.4.x series, I think we started with 2.4.12 and went up until 2.4.18, luckily both skipping the filesystem eater, 2.4.15.
Try this: 2.4.20, patched however you like it, no nicing up gcc, that's just cheating, no modules if you can help it, compile all the bare support necessary to get full function out of your machine: NIC, vid, sound, usb, framebuffer, iptables, etc...
My record back on 2.4.18 was 2:45 with an Athlon 1.2 and 512 of PC133 SDRAM, but that was just make bzImage (which was all you really need). Let's see what 2.4.20 will do....
I compared compiling time of kernel 2.2.20(in Debian 3.0),2.4.20(in Mandrake8.1(Vitamin) and Redhat 9.0.The debian system runs on ext2 ,redhat on ext3 and Mandrake on ReiserFS.I have a 800Mhz
PIII coppermine(Stepping 0a) with 128MB DIMM SDRAM(133Mhz)
The differences was noteworthy.
It took me 57min 45sec for custom compilation+installation(ie upto make install) in Redhat 9.0
44min 12sec in Mandrake 8.1(ReiserFS beats Ext3 anyday)
believe it or not
24min 11sec in Debian.