Minimal requirements to compile the Kernel¶
This document is designed to provide a list of the minimum levels of software necessary to run the 4.x kernels.
This document is originally based on my “Changes” file for 2.0.x kernels and therefore owes credit to the same people as that file (Jared Mauch, Axel Boldt, Alessandro Sigala, and countless other users all over the ‘net).
Current Minimal Requirements¶
Upgrade to at least these software revisions before thinking you’ve encountered a bug! If you’re unsure what version you’re currently running, the suggested command should tell you.
Again, keep in mind that this list assumes you are already functionally running a Linux kernel. Also, not all tools are necessary on all systems; obviously, if you don’t have any ISDN hardware, for example, you probably needn’t concern yourself with isdn4k-utils.
|Program||Minimal version||Command to check the version|
|GNU C||3.2||gcc –version|
|GNU make||3.81||make –version|
|isdn4k-utils||3.1pre1||isdnctrl 2>&1|grep version|
|grub||0.93||grub –version || grub-install –version|
|openssl & libcrypto||1.0.0||openssl version|
|||Sphinx is needed only to build the Kernel documentation|
The gcc version requirements may vary depending on the type of CPU in your computer.
You will need GNU make 3.81 or later to build the kernel.
Linux on IA-32 has recently switched from using
as86 to using
assembling the 16-bit boot code, removing the need for
as86 to compile
your kernel. This change does, however, mean that you need a recent
release of binutils.
You will need perl 5 and the following modules:
File::Find to build the kernel.
You will need bc to build kernels 3.10 and higher
Module signing and external certificate handling use the OpenSSL program and crypto library to do key creation and signature generation.
You will need openssl to build kernels 3.7 and higher if module signing is enabled. You will also need openssl development packages to build kernels 4.3 and higher.
DevFS has been obsoleted in favour of udev (http://www.kernel.org/pub/linux/utils/kernel/hotplug/)
32-bit UID support is now in place. Have fun!
Linux documentation for functions is transitioning to inline documentation via specially-formatted comments near their definitions in the source. These comments can be combined with the SGML templates in the Documentation/DocBook directory to make DocBook files, which can then be converted by DocBook stylesheets to PostScript, HTML, PDF files, and several other formats. In order to convert from DocBook format to a format of your choice, you’ll need to install Jade as well as the desired DocBook stylesheets.
New versions of util-linux provide
fdisk support for larger disks,
support new options to mount, recognize more supported partition
types, have a fdformat which works with 2.4 kernels, and similar goodies.
You’ll probably want to upgrade.
If the unthinkable happens and your kernel oopses, you may need the
ksymoops tool to decode it, but in most cases you don’t.
It is generally preferred to build the kernel with
that it produces readable dumps that can be used as-is (this also
produces better output than ksymoops). If for some reason your kernel
is not build with
CONFIG_KALLSYMS and you have no way to rebuild and
reproduce the Oops with that option, then you can still decode that Oops
A new module loader is now in the kernel that requires
to use. It is backward compatible with the 2.4.x series kernels.
These changes to the
/lib/modules file tree layout also require that
mkinitrd be upgraded.
The latest version of
e2fsprogs fixes several bugs in fsck and
debugfs. Obviously, it’s a good idea to upgrade.
jfsutils package contains the utilities for the file system.
The following utilities are available:
fsck.jfs- initiate replay of the transaction log, and check and repair a JFS formatted partition.
mkfs.jfs- create a JFS formatted partition.
- other file system utilities are also available in this package.
The reiserfsprogs package should be used for reiserfs-3.6.x
(Linux kernels 2.4.x). It is a combined package and contains working
reiserfsck. These utils work on both i386 and alpha platforms.
The latest version of
xfs_db, and the
xfs_repair utilities, among others, for the XFS filesystem. It is
architecture independent and any version from 2.0.0 onward should
work correctly with this version of the XFS kernel code (2.6.0 or
later is recommended, due to some significant improvements).
pcmcia-cs. It properly sets up
PCMCIA sockets at system startup and loads the appropriate modules
for 16-bit PCMCIA devices if the kernel is modularized and the hotplug
subsystem is used.
Support for 32 bit uid’s and gid’s is required if you want to use the newer version 2 quota format. Quota-tools version 3.07 and newer has this support. Use the recommended version or newer from the table above.
Intel IA32 microcode¶
A driver has been added to allow updating of Intel IA32 microcode, accessible as a normal (misc) character device. If you are not using udev you may need to:
mkdir /dev/cpu mknod /dev/cpu/microcode c 10 184 chmod 0644 /dev/cpu/microcode
as root before you can use this. You’ll probably also want to get the user-space microcode_ctl utility to use with this.
udev is a userspace application for populating
/dev dynamically with
only entries for devices actually present.
udev replaces the basic
functionality of devfs, while allowing persistent device naming for
Needs libfuse 2.4.0 or later. Absolute minimum is 2.3.0 but mount
kernel_cache won’t work.
If you have advanced network configuration needs, you should probably consider using the network tools from ip-route2.
Packet Filter / NAT¶
The packet filtering and NAT code uses the same tools like the previous 2.4.x kernel series (iptables). It still includes backwards-compatibility modules for 2.2.x-style ipchains and 2.0.x-style ipfwadm.
The PPP driver has been restructured to support multilink and to enable it to operate over diverse media layers. If you use PPP, upgrade pppd to at least 2.4.0.
If you are not using udev, you must have the device file /dev/ppp which can be made by:
mknod /dev/ppp c 108 0
Due to changes in the length of the phone number field, isdn4k-utils needs to be recompiled or (preferably) upgraded.
In ancient (2.4 and earlier) kernels, the nfs server needed to know
about any client that expected to be able to access files via NFS. This
information would be given to the kernel by
mountd when the client
mounted the filesystem, or by
exportfs at system startup. exportfs
would take information about active clients from
This approach is quite fragile as it depends on rmtab being correct
which is not always easy, particularly when trying to implement
fail-over. Even when the system is working well,
rmtab suffers from
getting lots of old entries that never get removed.
With modern kernels we have the option of having the kernel tell mountd
when it gets a request from an unknown host, and mountd can give
appropriate export information to the kernel. This removes the
rmtab and means that the kernel only needs to know about
currently active clients.
To enable this new functionality, you need to:
mount -t nfsd nfsd /proc/fs/nfsd
before running exportfs or mountd. It is recommended that all NFS services be protected from the internet-at-large by a firewall where that is possible.
On x86 kernels the mcelog utility is needed to process and log machine check
CONFIG_X86_MCE is enabled. Machine check events are errors
reported by the CPU. Processing them is strongly encouraged.
The ReST markups currently used by the Documentation/ files are meant to be
Sphinx version 1.2 or upper. If you’re desiring to build
PDF outputs, it is recommended to use version 1.4.6.
Please notice that, for PDF and LaTeX output, you’ll also need
version 3.14159265. Depending on the distribution, you may also need to
install a series of
texlive packages that provide the minimal set of
functionalities required for
XeLaTex to work. For PDF output you’ll also
convert(1) from ImageMagick (https://www.imagemagick.org).
In order to produce documentation from DocBook, you’ll also need
Please notice, however, that we’re currently migrating all documents to use