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How can you tell when you configure the source kernel which options should be built directly into the kernel and which should be selected as modules? Is is safe to assume you should choose "yes" over "module" when you don't know the answer?
As you delve into kernel building a bit more, and become a Linux bad a$$ like Neo, you will find things that are not necessary to have in your kernel, things you will never use, and will just add bloat to your system.
As a rule of thumb, these things should be "built into" the kernel:
filesystem support (for the systems filesystem, ex: ext3)
And these should be modules:
Not constantly mounted filesystems (maybe)
And to answer your last question:
"Is is safe to assume you should choose "yes" over "module" when you don't know the answer?"
I would say yes it is "safe" but no it's not necessary. If you don't know (and are doing make xconfig) you can read about what the process does right there. If you want more info, or are still unsure, type it into www.google.com/linux and see what comes up.
One more question, if you don't mind. Would the following link be an accurate how-to for building a kernel on Mandrake 8.2 (if your familiar with that distribution) or should I use one specifically written for Mandrake?
kernels are pretty much the lowest-level most basic component of any linux distro. if you learn how to compile a kernel on mandrake, then you can do it on any distro. the HOW-TO is fine... just follow it, and, if you have any other questions on specifics, just ask us for more help. it's not nearly as hard as it sounds.
Think of kernels as ice-cream. In fact, alot people when referring to them do (sort of). If you go to www.kernel.org and d/l the latest stable kernel (2.4.19 as of now), this will be what is called "vanilla". It's a standard basic kernel. If you go to Mandy's (short for Mandrake) and get the kernel built for mandrake users, then you have a custom kernel (let's call it blueberry). It has some "extras" and such that you may find appealing, or may just confuse you. And each of the major distro producers have these custom kernels (let's call RedHat's strawberry/cheese cake swirl). Depending on your needs, and what you want to accomplish with a kernel recompile, these flavored kernels may make it a little easier for you, or not help at all.
Oh, and I am going to venture out and say that just about anything you find at www.linuxdoc.org (or www.tldp.org - same site) will work on your distro.
Thanks for your help, guys! I was just wondering about that because in the "Linux Kenrel How-To" it mentions installing Red Hat binaries (atleast, that's what I think they are called) in the beginning steps of the document (ie, kernel-headers*.rpm, kernel-source*.rpm). I'm just not sure if those are specific to Red Hat or if I need them for Mandrake also.
From the How-To, "Below are commands tested on Redhat Linux Kernel 2.4.7-10, but it should work for other distributions with very minor changes."
I feel like that's elementary question to ask but I just don't want forget any steps that will cause headaches later on.
The rpm files are so you can compile a kernel that comes on your distro's cdrom. If you want Chocolate, then go for that. If you want vanilla, and tailor it, install those, and then get the vanilla kernel at www.kernel.org and use it. Not only will it be vanilla, but it's 2.4.19 whereas on your CD it's 2.4.18-6mdk or something like that, but it's not 2.4.19 (the latest and greatest).
Do we really need the .rpm files, or can we just use and copy the executables in /bin and /sbin to make the root file system? My kernel has complied and running from boot floppy, but my root file system is in really bad shape. I'm following the same site of tldp.
I've pruned inittab, rc, rc.sysinit, and as well as the init.d and rc*.d directories. But on inserting the root file system floppy, I get the message:
'RAMDISK: Compressed image found at block 0',
and then the computer just stalls. Does nothing, no error messages even.