How to Compile a Linux Kernel

How to Compile a Linux Kernel

by Jack Wallen

Once upon a time the idea of upgrading the Linux kernel sent fear through the hearts of many a user. Back then, the process of upgrading the kernel involved a lot of steps and even more time. Now, installing a new kernel can be easily handled with package managers like apt. With the addition of certain repositories, you can even easily install experimental or specific kernels (such as real-time kernels for audio production) without breaking a sweat.

Considering how easy it is to upgrade your kernel, why would you bother compiling one yourself? Here are a few possible reasons:

  • You simply want to know how it’s done.
  • You need to enable or disable specific options into a kernel that simply aren’t available via the standard options.
  • You want to enable hardware support that might not be found in the standard kernel.
  • You’re using a distribution that requires you to compile the kernel.