Compile And Install Kernel

Posted on 27 Nov 2012, tagged linuxkernel

There are already many documents to teach one how to compile and install kernel. Here are just some key notes. Use make help under source directory for details.

0. Kernel configure

It is happy to have a kernel git repo. Using git tag to see the kernel versions and use git checkout <tag> to checkout the specified version, such as:

git checkout v3.7-rc6


It is recommended to use the distribution’s kernel configure file as a basic configure when you compile the kernel for the first time. Copy it from /boot to <build_dir>/.config. Use this command to modify it:

make O=<build_dir> menuconfig


It will save the new configure and rename the old configure with .config.old.

1. Kernel image

Kernel image is the most important part. Use this command to compile kernel in <build_dir>:

make O=<build_dir> -j4


After that, Copy vmlinux and System.map to /boot. And then configure the boot loader. Or use the command installkernel if you have it.

2. Kernel modules

Some code are compiled to kernel modules. It need to be installed to the system. Use this command to install kernel modules and firmwares:

make O=<build_dir> modules_install


It installs kernel modules under /usr/lib/modules/<kernel_version>. You can also specify the output directory using INSTALL_MOD_PATH:

make O=<build_dir> INSTALL_MOD_PATH=<module_dir> modules_install


The INSTALL_MOD_PATH is / by default.

Linux headers are some header files to invoked by user space programs. Using this command to output it:

make O=<build_dir> INSTALL_HDR_PATH=<headers_dir> headers_install


It installs headers to <headers_dir>. You should copy them into /usr/include.

Another way

After all, you may want to make a kernel package to install on other machines. Such as:

make O=<build_dir> -j4 binrpm-pkg

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