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Compiling the Linux Kernel, the SUSE way
Category: Tips&Tricks
Let's get straight to the point: How to compile the kernel manually, SUSE style!

At September 2, Linus Torvalds announced the release of the Linux Kernel 3.11 “Linux for Workgroups” (is not it funny?).

For this example, I’ll use the new kernel 3.11 (obviously) on a SLES11 SP3 server.

1. After all we need to install: ncurses-devel

# zypper install ncurses-devel

2. Get the source:

# wget ""

3. Unpack the source:

# tar -Jxvf linux-3.11.tar.xz -C /usr/src/

4. Configure the kernel:

# cd /usr/src/linux-3.11/

Make sure you are in the path from the source

# make mrproper

If this is your first time, you really do not need this step, this only cleans .o files and other temporary

In the next step there are several ways to configure the kernel, I prefer to make menuconfig, but if you don’t have experience or want to play it safe, I recommend you use an existing configuration, to do this copy your old config file to the new source path:

# cp /boot/config-`uname -r` .config

If you still want to change or add something, at this point you can run: make menuconfig

HINT: After configuration you can further customize the kernel, adding a “extraversion” value. In the Makefile, edit the “EXTRAVERSION =” field, for (this) example:

NAME = Linux for Workgroup

5. Build the Kernel:

# make rpm

Because we copy the old configuration in this step we ask about the new kernel features, read carefully before responding.

Now, take a break, this step will take a bit depending on the performance of your hardware.

6. Install the Kernel:

If all went well, you will see output similar to this:

Wrote: /usr/src/packages/SRPMS/kernel-3.11.0_w00t_0.11_default-1.src.rpm
Wrote: /usr/src/packages/RPMS/x86_64/kernel-3.11.0_w00t_0.11_default-1.x86_64.rpm
Wrote: /usr/src/packages/RPMS/x86_64/kernel-headers-3.11.0_w00t_0.11_default-1.x86_64.rpm
Executing(%clean): /bin/sh -e /var/tmp/rpm-tmp.13989
+ umask 022
+ cd /usr/src/packages/BUILD
+ cd kernel-3.11.0_w00t_0.11_default
+ rm -rf /var/tmp/kernel-3.11.0_w00t_0.11_default-root
+ exit 0
rm kernel-3.11.0_w00t_0.11_default.tar.gz kernel.spec

Install the new Kernel package under /usr/src/packages/RPMS/x86_64/:

# cd /usr/src/packages/RPMS/x86_64/


sp3-lab:/usr/src/packages/RPMS/x86_64 # ls
sp3-lab:/usr/src/packages/RPMS/x86_64 #


# rpm -ivh kernel-3.11.0_w00t_0.11_default-1.x86_64.rpm

And build the initrd

# mkinitrd

Now it only remains to edit the grub menu:

# vim /boot/grub/menu.lst

And add these lines, obviously putting the right disk to your existing system:

title SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11 SP3 - 3.11 Linux for Workgroups
root (hdX,X)
kernel /boot/vmlinuz-3.11.0-w00t-0.11-default root=/dev/XXX resume=/dev/disk/XXX splash=silent crashkernel=256M-:128M showopts vga=0x314
initrd /boot/initrd-3.11.0-w00t-0.11-default

Basically, what we do here is copy the current grub entry in your system and just change the title and the image of the new Kernel.

Now, reboot!

We should see the new option in the grub.




Happy Hacking!


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