punkwalrus (punkwalrus) wrote,

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Linux - Rebuilding the Kernel

On of the things I was asked during the interviews of my new job was "can you rebuild a Sun kernel?" I said I could rebuild a Linux kernel, thinking about my Gentoo experience. One person asked me what Gentoo was, and when I said, "It's a distro entirely built from source, so you have to tell it what you have, what you want compiled, and then compile that into the Kernel. You thin have a perfectly tailored Linux OS setup for your machine." I got a blank stare, and then was asked, "Is Gentoo like Red Hat?"

Not quite.

But I said I am sure rebuilding a Sun kernel wouldn't be to daunting, I would only have to be shown how, and then do it a few times to make sure. This won nods of approval except from one guy, who said, "It's not like Linux at all!" I told him I am sure it wasn't, but I was sure the ideas and concepts behind it were the same. "No it's not!" was the angry reply. I told him I mean the same as in there would be a series of parameters, like a configuration file, and a compiler of some kind. "Uh... no," he said with a shake of his head like I was a fool. "How do you do it then, with no configuration and no compiler?" He said, "It's too complicated to explain. It's just a lot of parts you have to put together." I joked, "What is it, a cat * > newkernel or something?" "No," he said, with a serious look. "Never mind."

This pissed me off. So I looked it up.

85) 	How do I re-build the kernel under SunOS4.x?

	Here is the procedure.

	 1) cd /sys/`arch -k`/conf
	 2) Read the README.
	 3) Make a copy of the proper template file(ie cp GENERIC MYKERNEL)
	 4) Edit MYKERNEL  - Remove any unneeded drivers. These are memory
			     wasters. Also, probably want to increase
			     MAXUSERS to at least 50.
	 5) config MYKERNEL
	 6) cd ../MYKERNEL
	 7) make
	 8) cp /vmunix /vmunix.save
	 9) cp vmunix /vmunix
	10) Reboot machine to make the new kernel active. 
	Last Updated:  April 14, 1995.

That seems simple and straightforward enough. Okay, now I am sure that Solaris 10 is different, but I can't imagine that it would be a vast difference between rebuilding concepts of Solaris 4 versus 10. You would think that, over time, it would actually get simpler. Maybe not actual tuning parameters, I am sure that's a lot more complex, but there's a configuration file, a config and make, back up the old, put in the new, and reboot. Simple, and similar to Linux.

Now I think he just didn't know what he was talking about and didn't want to admit it, which is why he got kind of snobbish on me.
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