Upgrade to latest kernel 3.3.7 with customization in size reduction

Upgrade to latest customised kernel.

The new kernel 3.3.7 is out and I am sure most of you have not yet updated your kernel. Well, don’t worry, this post will help you easily compile (build) a customised kernel suiting your needs and thus increasing your Linux experience.

Ok, so why compile the kernel?

Sometimes, some latest software modules need patch ups and need some kernel flags to be set for better user experience.

Nonetheless, even if you don’t want to, just do it to learn something new. That’s what this blog is all about.

So, beginning with the guide,

Step 1:

Download the latest kernel source code from www.kernel.org

Step 2:

Extract the source code using

tar xf linux-3.3.7.tar.bz2

Copy the extracted source code into the /usr/src directory using the GUI or using the command

sudo cp linux-3.3.7 /usr/src

Step 3:

Well, I will not go much into the details of this extracted folder as our main aim here is to build a customised kernel, which very few blogs around will help you with. So coming right back to action,

cd linux-3.3.7

The Linux kernel is made up of thousands of modules. Generally we don’t care much about this and just compile the kernel, but I will now try to show some modules and why not to install some modules if you don’t need them. The basic benefit of excluding some modules is that you never use them and hence it will improve your system boot time.

Generally the Linux image size is 5 MB, with the help of some decent options you can reduce it to about 3.5 MB and still have a perfectly running system that boots much faster

So, moving on, copy the old configuration file using the command,

cp /boot/config-(your current kernel version)  .config

This will create a new .config file in linux-3.3.7 which we can now use to modify and compile the kernel.

Step 4:

So to go to the configuration settings, type

make menuconfig

Image

This command will give you a GUI interface which you can use to decide which features to install.

Some modules like touch screen support, tablet support, joystick support and monitor interfacing are not required by a general user so I would advise you to deselect those options.

I cannot go on explaining each and every module in this post as that is not  possible considering thousands of modules, but the best way is to use [SHIFT]+? key together to get more information on what the module does, and decide accordingly. It will help you figure things out on your own.

So after deselecting the unnecessary modules as per your usage, we will now compile this kernel. save the configuration file using the last option which will redirect you back to the terminal.

Step 5:

Type:

make

This will take about 45 minutes depending on your system configuration. A good idea is to catch some sandwich while your kernel compiles.

Next, after this is done type,

make modules_install install

Step 6:

Type :

update-initramfs  -c  -k  3.3.7

This will enable us to choose the latest kernel during boot.

And finally update the grup by the command

update-grub

You are now ready to boot the latest kernel. Restart your system and bingo, a new kernel will show up for booting.

Do comment below in case of any error encountered below during compilation, and I will try my best to solve them for you.

Happy Linuxing!

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Transition

           

A new city,a new college, a new beginning, new friends and a new life. This is all about my transition from the city of Mumbai to Chennai. After having spent 18 years of my life in Mumbai, this transition was indeed a difficult one. I realized I had to leave Mumbai, when I decided to pursue my undergraduate studies in Computer Science at VIT University.

So, I packed my bags and left for a new beginning in life. A journey which I wasn’t sure about. I knew there would be obstacles at every point and that I had to face them efficiently.

The feeling of being away from home, slowly sank in. Thats when I began to analyse, my life in the two cities.

I remember people telling me, “Oh! you are from Mumbai”. I used to wonder whats the big deal in that. But now, after having moved to Chennai and spent almost two years here, I realize why people say so. No doubt Chennai is a beautiful city and has its own charm, but I guess if any city in this world can beat the aura of a city like Mumbai. Passionate people all around, motivate you to work hard. A simple local train journey in the crowded morning train is enough to make someone realize that life here is tough, and you gotta make it big to be successful! I wonder if that kind of inspiration is present anywhere else.

So, coming back to the topic, my life at VIT till now has been fun. New friends, getting to know people  from all walks of life, and all parts of the country, has been an amazing experience. Hostel life particularly teaches you lots of things right from managing your budgets to resisting yourself from all the wrong things happening around you.

So, the transition from Mumbai to Chennai, although a difficult one, has taught me new ways to live and enjoy life.

The master of Cakes!

In every college, there are always some special professors who go out of their way to help students.   Prof. Jeganathan is one of our most beloved professors in VIT.

Currently the program manager of the School of Computing Science and Engineering, Prof. Jeganathan teaches Algorithms and Design to the Second Year students.  When it comes to cater to students interests, Prof. Jeganathan would do anything to help the student.  Also known as the “GOD”  of Algorithms and Design, there are always those moments in his class where even the best of students think, “Oh! I was such a fool to not get that answer.”

His “sorted” format of taking attendance in class, where students themselves call out for their numbers in a sorted manner is quite unique in its own kind. Often when students are not able to call out numbers is a sorted way, he cheekily mentions “Gone are the days when I expected input in a sorted manner”.

The “Facelook” concept is another innovative concept from the kitty of our algorithms professor. According to him this situation arises when an algorithm is given to the students for analysis, they keep looking at the professors’ face without actually working on analysing the algorithm.

His format of taking exams is completely different from other professors. He clearly states that whatever is discussed in class will never be tested in the exams.  Students often keep wondering till the last day of the exam, “What should I actually study?” 

Did I just mention exams? Well, it’s not exams anymore.  “Cake cutting” would be a more appropriate word for it where the level of the cake (question paper) will determine whether students cut the cake or the professor gets to cut the cake. 

With his own unique style and concept of teaching, Prof. Jeganathan truly wins hearts by his simplicity and genuineness.

In the end, I would just like to voice one of his sentiments, “Computers are stupid but Computer Science students are smart, IS NOT?”