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Introduction to Linux - A Hands on Guide
This guide was created as an overview of the Linux Operating System, geared toward new users as an exploration tour and getting started guide, with exercises at the end of each chapter.
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Kernel: The central module of an operating system. It is the part of the operating system that loads first, and it remains in main memory. Because it stays in memory, it is important for the kernel to be as small as possible while still providing all the essential services required by other parts of the operating system and applications. Typically, the kernel is responsible for memory management, process and task management, and disk management.
Most recompile their kernel for optimization on their machine, to enable and disable services and such that they need and don't need.
To access your Windows files in Linux, you'll need to mount them.
man mount for more details. Also this is asked all the time, a quick search will find your answers. Note though, if your Windows is NTFS, you'll only be able to read from it, not write though.
The kernel is the engine of the Linux OS. If it were a DOS system, it would be something like command.com, except this is also where hardware support, as well as resource management is handled as well.
Many will say that it's advanced stuff and newbies should stay clear of it, but I say that statement is misleading. In fact to squeeze every last drop of performance on your system, tweaking the kernel is a must. The only highly important thing that you must have is the knowledge of your hardware, eg. motherboard type, NIC type, the amount of RAM you have, your processor type, the USB support that you want (keyboard, mouse, storage devices), etc.
However, have no fear if you left out something, you can always recompile later.
Accessing your Windows partition:
Assuming your hard drive has only one partition, then your Windows drive would be /dev/hda1
You should be able to mount it if you have defined it in your /etc/fstab file... eg. mount /mnt/windows
If you could post the contents of your fstab, we would be able to assist you more.
Many people compile newer kernels because they want to be up to date or they have hardware that the newer kernels supports better than the older kernels. You can always compile your orginal kernel or older kernels.
The kernel is source code written in C programming language, so yes its a text file. Yes theres ways to pick what parts to leave in and what parts to leave out. Theres four ways of doing this. The manual way is using a text editor and going through the ".config" file. There is also a text gui and a graphical gui to pick what you want to include in the kernel. The fourth way is using your original config file by typing oldconfig in the kernel directory.
If anybody asks you what LINUX version are you running, say the kernel version instead of the distribution.
The chmod is like the attributes in DOS but with more features. Since UNIX/LINUX doesn't rely on the extension like in DOS/Windows, it uses file modes. Mode 777 makes the directory or files be read, write, execute for all groups, users, and others. Theres chown the changes the ownership of a directory or file. I suggest you look up chmod and chown for more information.
Compiling a kernel takes a long time. It can take around 1 hour or more depending on your processor, filesystem, and memory. You may want to do it when you are not planning to do any business/shool/pleasure work on your computer.
I never do the chmod part too, but some people have reported that the mount point won't be accessable to non-root without it... must be some obscure distro that they use... so I thought, ahh what the hell.