In Which Our Hero Loses His Shame

Hello all.  I have a small confession to make.  You may know me as a moderator of LQ, bon vivant, long time Linux user and all round good guy.  But what you don’t know is that I have a secret, one I have been keeping from you all because of the shame I feel about it.  It’s a terrible, dark secret shame.

I have passed myself off as knowledgeable about things, offered advice and explained when people were going wrong.  And all the time the voice in the back of my head was saying “fraud, you don’t know what you’re doing, tell them, tell them the truth”.  And now, through this blog, here it is:

I have never successfully compiled my own kernel.

I know, it shocks you, I can tell.  Really, I should have told you to go to your medicine cabinet to grab the smelling salts for your women folk and to send small children out of the room.   I apologise.  I’m afraid that reading this blog may have become detrimental to your health.  Unfortunately for you, my secret hidden EULA (which you agreed to by reading the first word) means you can’t sue.  In fact, I can probably sue you.  So be warned.

I had tried and tried to compile the kernel in the past, but I always gave up and stayed with the stock kernel when I forgot to comile something important into it.  I usually ended up with a kernel panic or important things being unable to run.  But no more.

I finally installed Gentoo (in fact, I’m posting from it now) and changed and compiled my kernel.  It’s easier (in both cases) than I had thought.  Admittedly, I’m using the all purpose genkernel as my base kernel, but I have changed things and recompiled and rebooted and found that nothing was broken.  So that’s nice.

I can finally hold my head up and say “I did it, I recompiled my kernel”.

Posted on 3 May, 2006, in Computer Stuff, Generalities, Open Source, Stupidities. Bookmark the permalink. 15 Comments.

  1. Hehe… 😛

  2. Pfft. n00b!


  3. I know I know. I feel as if I have completely lost all your respect.

    I’m sorry 🙂

  4. nah. you just have to have a finger every ready for the delete/lock/move buttons to be a mod- you don’t have to know everything!

  5. Ah, but it’s useful to fake it successfully. 🙂

  6. Ray, the question is how have you been using Slackware all these days without recompiling kernels? I find that on Slackware, it’s almost always necessary to recompile it 😛 8)

  7. I use Slackware and only recompile when necessary. My laptop is still using 2.4.26 which came with 10.0. No real reason to upgrade or recompile as everything works on it.

    Now I did have to recompile the kernels for the new servers I racked up to enable large memory support, SMP and the IBMServeRaid controllers they have. Let me tell you, forgetting to add the IBM ServeRAID and rebooting was not fun, delayed the process by an hour to boot with Slackware cd, mount all of the devices, chroot and recompile.. 😉

  8. I have also never had to recompile on Slackware – the stock 2.4.31 kernel does everything I need it to do.

    Also, the genkernel on Gentoo is a great cheat mechanism genkernel --menuconfig all --boot=grub or whatever it is gives you the menuconfig bit and when you close it does all the recompiling and inserts the relevant entries to your bootloader. Very little hands on stuff is needed.

  9. You may now be considered a pr0^ 😛

    What do you think of Gentoo? Any better than Slackware? I found that Slack’s default kernel did the trick for me.. Ok, the ATI drivers do not work (I think they need 2.6.x), but that’s another story! I didn’t really feel like recompling the kernel 😉

    Great stuff Ray. And to think you were able to help me so much with Slackware, and I was getting noob help all the time.. I guess that makes me an uber-noob 😮 J/k! I should probably give Gentoo another chance.

    Anyway, let us know how it goes 😉

  10. Hi,

    Yeah – recompiling is very hardware specific. Maybe I have a few chipsets which are not supported by the default kernel.

    Also Ray, whenever you’re free, drop by I have some new ideas and would like to discuss some things with you. 🙂

  11. I’m off Gentoo now. I ran it, installed it, compiled it and got very bored with it. To be honest, it was just like Slackware but everything took much much longer. And so I realised that I was better off using Slack. Which I am now on.

    Using a 2.6 kernel (which I compiled all by myself ;)) on Slack Iwas getting some extremely good framerates. Problem was that I couldn’t get my wireless card to work with that kernel. So I’m on the stock 2.4.31 kernel at the moment.

  12. Gentoo has a few nice tools which make upgrading and maintaining easy. However, as you said, things take far too long to accomplish in gentoo. Unless you have a dedicated machine running 24*7…

  13. Yeah, if I had more time and a second machine it would have been accomplished, but spending that amount of time recompiling and fiddling with make.conf and then re-re-compiling was becoming a pain in the neck.

    Genkernel/Coldplug is a great idea though and it'd be great if there was a Slackware version – it'd help with the current perceived lack of hardware support in Slack.

  14. Aisha (GIrl In Trouble)

    Ah no, just thought I’d come look and you were doing so well – you sounded like a big tough boy and then you admitted your dirty little secret to the world lol.

    Actually I like a man whoi can admit to stuff.
    CU on LQ
    Like your SOH

  15. Thanks Aisha – welcome to the blog. 🙂

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