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7. Configuring the Kernel
You first need to select your timezone so that your system knows where it is
located. Look for your timezone in /usr/share/zoneinfo, then copy
it to /etc/localtime. Please avoid the
/usr/share/zoneinfo/Etc/GMT* timezones as their names do not
indicate the expected zones. For instance, GMT-8 is in fact GMT+8.
Code Listing 1.1: Setting the timezone information
# ls /usr/share/zoneinfo
# cp /usr/share/zoneinfo/GMT /etc/localtime
7.b. Installing the Sources
Choosing a Kernel
The core around which all distributions are built is the Linux kernel. It is the
layer between the user programs and your system hardware. Gentoo provides its
users several possible kernel sources. A full listing with description is
available at the Gentoo Kernel
For sparc-based systems we have sparc-sources (kernel source optimized
for SPARC users) and vanilla-sources (the default kernel source as
developed by the linux-kernel developers).
In the next example we install the sparc-sources. Of course substitute
with your choice of sources, this is merely an example. The USE="-doc"
is necessary to avoid installing xorg-x11 or other dependencies at this point.
USE="symlink" is not necessary for a new install, but ensures proper
creation of the /usr/src/linux symlink.
Code Listing 2.1: Installing a kernel source
# USE="-doc symlink" emerge sparc-sources
When you take a look in /usr/src you should see a symlink called
linux pointing to your kernel source. In this case, the installed
kernel source points to sparc-sources-2.4.31. Your version may be
different, so keep this in mind.
Code Listing 2.2: Viewing the kernel source symlink
# ls -l /usr/src/linux
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 12 Oct 13 11:04 /usr/src/linux -> linux-2.4.31-sparc
Now it is time to configure and compile your kernel source.
7.c. Manual Configuration
Manually configuring a kernel is often seen as the most difficult procedure a
Linux user ever has to perform. Nothing is less true -- after configuring a
couple of kernels you don't even remember that it was difficult ;)
However, one thing is true: you must know your system when you start
configuring a kernel manually. Most information can be gathered by emerging
pciutils (emerge pciutils) which contains lspci. You will now
be able to use lspci within the chrooted environment. You may safely
ignore any pcilib warnings (like pcilib: cannot open
/sys/bus/pci/devices) that lspci throws out. Alternatively, you can run
lspci from a non-chrooted environment. The results are the same.
You can also run lsmod to see what kernel modules the Installation CD
uses (it might provide you with a nice hint on what to enable).
Now go to your kernel source directory and execute make menuconfig. This
will fire up an ncurses-based configuration menu.
Code Listing 3.1: Invoking menuconfig
# cd /usr/src/linux
# make menuconfig
You will be greeted with several configuration sections. We'll first list some
options you must activate (otherwise Gentoo will not function, or not function
properly without additional tweaks).
Activating Required Options
First of all, activate the use of development and experimental code/drivers.
You need this, otherwise some very important code/drivers won't show up:
Code Listing 3.2: Selecting experimental code/drivers
Code maturity level options --->
[*] Prompt for development and/or incomplete code/drivers
Now go to File Systems and select support for the filesystems you use.
Don't compile them as modules, otherwise your Gentoo system will not be
able to mount your partitions. Also select Virtual memory and /proc
file system. If you are running a 2.4 kernel, you should also select
/dev file system + Automatically mount at boot:
Code Listing 3.3: Selecting necessary file systems
File systems --->
[*] Virtual memory file system support (former shm fs)
[*] /proc file system support
[ ] /dev/pts file system for Unix98 PTYs
<*> Ext3 journalling file system support
<*> Second extended fs support
If you are using PPPoE to connect to the Internet or you are using a dial-up
modem, you will need the following options in the kernel:
Code Listing 3.4: Selecting PPPoE necessary drivers
Network device support --->
<*> PPP (point-to-point protocol) support
<*> PPP support for async serial ports
<*> PPP support for sync tty ports
The two compression options won't harm but are not definitely needed, neither
does the PPP over Ethernet option, that might only be used by
rp-pppoe when configured to do kernel mode PPPoE.
Now activate the correct bus-support:
Code Listing 3.5: Activating SBUS/UPA
Console drivers --->
Frame-buffer support --->
[*] SBUS and UPA framebuffers
[*] Creator/Creator3D support
[*] CGsix (GX,TurboGX) support
Of course you want support for the OBP:
Code Listing 3.6: Activating OBP Support
Misc Linux/SPARC drivers --->
[*] /dev/openprom device support
You will also need SCSI-specific support:
Code Listing 3.7: Activating SCSI-specific support
SCSI support --->
SCSI low-level drivers --->
<*> Sparc ESP Scsi Driver
<*> PTI Qlogic, ISP Driver
<*> SYM53C8XX Version 2 SCSI support
To support your network card, select one of the following:
Code Listing 3.8: Activating networking support
Network device support --->
Ethernet (10 or 100Mbit) --->
<*> Sun LANCE support
<*> Sun Happy Meal 10/100baseT support
<*> DECchip Tulip (dc21x4x) PCI support
Ethernet (1000Mbit) --->
<*> Broadcom Tigon3 support
When you have a 4-port Ethernet machine (10/100 or 10/100/1000) the port order
is different from the one used by Solaris. You can use sys-apps/ethtool
or mii-tool to check the port link status.
When you're done configuring your kernel, continue with Compiling and Installing. However, after having
compiled the kernel, check its size:
Code Listing 3.9: Check kernel size
# ls -lh vmlinux
-rw-r--r-- 1 root root 2.4M Oct 25 14:38 vmlinux
If the (uncompressed) size is bigger than 2.5 MB (for Sparc32) or 3.5 MB (for
Sparc64), reconfigure your kernel until it doesn't exceed these limits. One way
of accomplishing this is by having most kernel drivers compiled as modules.
Ignoring this can lead to a non-booting kernel.
Also, if your kernel is just a tad too big, you can try stripping it using the
Code Listing 3.10: Stripping the kernel
# strip -R .comment -R .note vmlinux
Compiling and Installing
Now that your kernel is configured, it is time to compile and install it. Exit
the configuration and start the compilation process:
Code Listing 3.11: Compiling the kernel
# make dep && make clean vmlinux modules modules_install
# make dep && make clean vmlinux image modules modules_install
When the kernel has finished compiling, copy the kernel image to
/boot. Remember to replace <kernel-version>
with your actual kernel version.
Code Listing 3.12: Installing the kernel
# cp vmlinux /boot/<kernel-version>
# cp arch/sparc64/boot/image /boot/<kernel-version>
Now continue with Installing Separate Kernel
7.d. Installing Separate Kernel Modules
Configuring the Modules
You should list the modules you want automatically loaded in
You can add extra options to the modules too if you want.
To view all available modules, run the following find command. Don't
forget to substitute "<kernel version>" with the version of the kernel you
Code Listing 4.1: Viewing all available modules
# find /lib/modules/<kernel version>/ -type f -iname '*.o' -or -iname '*.ko'
For instance, to automatically load the 3c59x.o module, edit the
kernel-2.4 file and enter the module name in it.
Code Listing 4.2: Editing /etc/modules.autoload.d/kernel-2.4
# nano -w /etc/modules.autoload.d/kernel-2.4
Code Listing 4.3: /etc/modules.autoload.d/kernel-2.4
Continue the installation with Configuring
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