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If somebody doesn't it's likely he never did and might not know what you'd do that for.
I used to build my own kernels years ago when there where a lot of patches outside the kernel tree I needed to get my hardware to work but don't see much sense in it now.
It's just boring with all the options now and then you get a new piece of hardware you figured you'd never use or somebody shows up with some piece and you have to rebuild the kernel.Otherwise you'd have to build all the modules anyway and thats pretty much what the distros do.
If you are severly restrited with RAM or need a patch it makes sense other than that I don't see a reason to do it.
Well I usually leave most of the modules in there just in case I change the hardware out, although on a laptop this is less likely. But, mostly there are things you can do to improve performance and reduce bugginess as I said before. And if I apply patches it's only to upgrade to a newer kernel version.
I used to too - the additional performance was noticeable. Now... with new kernels being released for current distros every month or so, it's more work than I care for with the number of systems that I look after. The default ones work just fine. Not ideal, with smeg loads of unnecessary options and drivers, but that's the Windows(TM) world, really.
I haven't done it yet, but I guess I should since my computer isn't too new. On better machines I don't think it's worth it (Slackware already has good kernels and Debian kernels needs too many patches, I'm not sure about the last one though).
As a matter of principle, I don't think my installation job is done until I compile the kernel. However, I don't always have the time. For me, it's all about learning more about Linux and computers in general and having more computing power at the end of the day.
Building my custom kernel used to be an early step in every Linux install I ever did... Now days it seems only in very rare cases I ever have to do it.
I really think the change in development process is the biggest reason.
Back in the 2.2 days and 2.4 days the new features used to sit in the development branches for a long time before they were ever built into the stable kernel. Often times, especially with machines with the latest hardware, it seemed I was constantly trying to backport features and or using kernels others had customized because some feature I wanted wasn't yet available in the stable releases. Now days the development cycles are a lot shorter, new features get into the stable releases much faster. You'll notice even the distribution maintainers have had to do a lot less back porting or supplying of patches that haven't been accepted in the 2.6 days.
I've been compiling since the 2.4 kernel to dispose of unwanted bloat but it wasn't strictly necessary.
I've recently bought a graphics tablet for which the driver is included in the 2.6.23 kernel so I'll be compiling that to get the tablet working. Would this driver hotplug? I don't actually know so I'm tempted to answer yes but ...... WDYT?
If I were using a binary distribution, then no, I wouldn't compile my own kernel. I would consider that one of the major reasons why I chose to use "somebody's 'distro'" is so that the distro-producers would do all the heavy-lifting for me. I'd use their kernel, their environment, their library choices ... and basically just focus on whatever it is that I wanted to do.
In particular, I don't want incompatibility to raise its very-ugly head. I don't want things "not to work." Again, that's one of the devil's-bargains that go with a binary distribution: it's going to work, and it's going to work well-enough.
Now, as it happens, I do happen to run a Linux distribution (Gentoo) that is completely compiled-from-source. Everything, from the kernel right up to every single library that's installed, has been compiled from-source using compile-options specific to my particular (somewhat .. okay, okay, make that very .. antiquated ) hardware.
My kernel, in fact my entire system, contains exactly what I need and exactly what my hardware needs and nothing more. But it wasn't easy and I wouldn't wish it upon you, especially since I am writing in the Linux - Newbie forum! It is not, in other words, "the time nor the place."
My kernel, in fact my entire system, contains exactly what I need and exactly what my hardware needs and nothing more. But it wasn't easy and I wouldn't wish it upon you,
I ran Gentoo for about 6 months and man it was tortuous. Installing a package was like waiting for paint to dry and updating the system took about ten hours of compiling. But yes, Gentoo absolutely requires that you compile your own kernel. But are all those use flags necessary and does a possible increase in speed make it all worthwhile? Well that's what choice is all about!
When I choose to upgrade to a newer kernel, I copy my running .config file into the new source location, make xconfig, and then zoom through it looking for any brand new options I want to try out.
Initially, (my answer is YES- build my own, anyhow) I always have built my own kernel since learning how to do it. It takes me like 10 minutes from start to reboot now, if I am simply upgrading. I build my own by default because I like knowing that I haven't missed out on maybe a new option that better supports a specific piece of hardware I have, and also I remove all the stuff I don't need.
Examples of the hardware are:
1) my Realtek 8211 ethernet device -- is not specifically (numerically) supported, though the forcedeth driver (for other Realtek devices) works fine. One day I'll see in the config my exact device, and select it if necessary/possible.
2) until support for the Fintek SuperIO chip I have, entered the mainline kernel, I was needing to manually add the driver source code to the kernel source, edit makefiles, and build it; or else I couldn't read my hardware monitor device. Nowadays, my Fintek device is specifically in there.
Also as an example, I like selecting my own timer/tick speed, specific CPU, & memory model (64GB -- not the default) otherwise I would not have the performance & functionality from my hardware that I do, let alone limiting myself to using less memory than I have installed (4GB).