A couple of unrelated ideas are bouncing-around here...
(1) A "kernel patch" is a delta file
that contains only the differences between one kernel-source version and another. If you were connecting to the Internet via dial-up, you might be interested in these since they're smaller. Otherwise, I find little-to-no use for them. When I can easily download a complete "Real McCoy," that's what I am going to do.
(2) You are absolutely right
that the /usr/src/linux/.config
hidden-file is both out-of-sight and vulnerable. It is very easily destroyed. For that reason, I keep a backup of the file in my /root
directory under a suitable name. (The file is chown
'd to be read-only even to me.) I've also got a copy on my backup-drives.
When I'm ready to upgrade my kernel, the first
thing that I do is to make, and lock, another
backup-copy of the config. Then, after doing the appropriate symlink changes, I embark upon my new upgrade. I then make a copy of that
config-file, after letting make menuconfig
do its thing, naming it "in-progress-01" because I know I might yet change my mind.
"Hmmm... this doesn't look quite right. Wonder what changed?"
That's easy: just do a diff
Finally: there's a pad of paper and a number-two pencil at my hand. What I do, I write down. What I plan to do, I write down and then mark-off. Methodical... deliberate... unhurried... and no