Chapter 10: Maintaining the Kernel

Chapter 10: Maintaining the Kernel


As mentioned in Section 2.2, the kernel is the core of the operating system. In some respects, the Linux kernel is no different than any other software package. You can configure, build, and install the kernel because it comes as source code. However, the procedure for doing so is substantially different than for any other software package because the kernel runs like no other package.

There are four basic topics pertaining to kernel management:

  • Configuring and compiling a new kernel Your end goal here is to build an image file, ready for the boot loader.

  • Manipulating loadable kernel modules You don't have to build the kernel as one massive chunk of code. Kernel modules let you load drivers and kernel services as you need them.

  • Configuring a boot loader such as GRUB or LILO Your kernel is useless if you can't load it into memory.

  • Learning miscellaneous utilities and procedures There are many facilities that tweak runtime kernel parameters and extend kernel features. You have already seen some examples of these in previous chapters, including the /proc filesystem and the iptables command.