Compiling the 2.6 kernel

Andrej Marjan amarjan-e+AXbWqSrlAAvxtiuMwx3w at
Mon Dec 29 17:22:50 UTC 2003

On Fri, Dec 26, 2003 at 12:30:17AM -0500, pking123-rieW9WUcm8FFJ04o6PK0Fg at wrote:
> I decided to celebrate Christmas by compiling a version 2.6 kernel. :-)

> I have done several compiles before, but still have a few questions about this compile.

> First, I noticed that my OS (Debian 3) uses initrd by default. This is
> my first compile using initrd. From what I have been reading regarding
> initrd, it is really a filesystem-in-a-file, and the default one I
> have uses cramfs. Documentation I have on initird suggest ext2 or
> minix, so I guess it really doesn't matter about what the filesystem
> is.

You don't need initrd if you're compiling your own kernel. Just make
sure to compile in IDE if you're booting off an IDE drive, or all the
necessary scsi stuff for that.

Basically, initrd is a sort of in-memory filesystem for the kernel to be
able to load modules before it has mounted a filesystem. This is used in
distributor kernels so they can make all drivers, including IDE and
SCSI, into modules, and then probe and load only the required ones at
boot time. They can't get the IDE module from an IDE disk, because the
kernel doesn't know about IDE, because the IDE driver is in the

Otherwise they'd have to compile everything in, making huge
kernels and wasting lots of memory. 

Here's the really easy way to get 2.6 running on Debian:

1. update to unstable
2. install module-init-tools
3. get 2.6 source
4. configure 2.6, making sure to build in anything you need to boot
   (e.g. IDE, text console)
5. use make-kpkg to compile the kernel and build a Debian package of it
6. install said package
7. reboot and enjoy

This will take care of all version dependencies. The new kernel is so
much smoother than 2.4 even with the CK interactivity patches.

If you're using the nvidia binary driver, there's a shortcut you can
use to getting those up and working, especially with the Debian package
management system.

1. Use the Debian packages to get the driver up and running with a 2.4
   kernel, specifying "no TLS" when asked. 
2. Reboot into 2.6
3. Get the 4496 patch and installation instructions from
3. Apply the patch into /usr/src/modules/nvidia-kernel/nv/ and build
   according to the instructions. You might have to manually
   copy the resulting nvidia.ko driver into
   /lib/modules/2.6.0/kernel/drivers/video/ , I don't remember.
4. dpkg-reconfigure nvidia-glx, and say "yes TLS".

You want to do this because the debian packages handle all the necessary
diversions of GL libraries and general package administration, so
nothing will break the next time you update X or mesa.

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