1        Linux kernel release 2.4.xx
   3These are the release notes for Linux version 2.4.  Read them carefully,
   4as they tell you what this is all about, explain how to install the
   5kernel, and what to do if something goes wrong. 
   9  Linux is a Unix clone written from scratch by Linus Torvalds with
  10  assistance from a loosely-knit team of hackers across the Net.
  11  It aims towards POSIX compliance. 
  13  It has all the features you would expect in a modern fully-fledged
  14  Unix, including true multitasking, virtual memory, shared libraries,
  15  demand loading, shared copy-on-write executables, proper memory
  16  management and TCP/IP networking. 
  18  It is distributed under the GNU General Public License - see the
  19  accompanying COPYING file for more details. 
  23  Linux was first developed for 386/486-based PCs.  These days it also
  24  runs on ARMs, DEC Alphas, SUN Sparcs, M68000 machines (like Atari and
  25  Amiga), MIPS and PowerPC, and others.
  29 - There is a lot of documentation available both in electronic form on
  30   the Internet and in books, both Linux-specific and pertaining to
  31   general UNIX questions.  I'd recommend looking into the documentation
  32   subdirectories on any Linux FTP site for the LDP (Linux Documentation
  33   Project) books.  This README is not meant to be documentation on the
  34   system: there are much better sources available.
  36 - There are various README files in the Documentation/ subdirectory:
  37   these typically contain kernel-specific installation notes for some 
  38   drivers for example. See ./Documentation/00-INDEX for a list of what
  39   is contained in each file.  Please read the Changes file, as it
  40   contains information about the problems, which may result by upgrading
  41   your kernel.
  43 - The Documentation/DocBook/ subdirectory contains several guides for
  44   kernel developers and users.  These guides can be rendered in a
  45   number of formats:  PostScript (.ps), PDF, and HTML, among others.
  46   After installation, "make psdocs", "make pdfdocs", or "make htmldocs"
  47   will render the documentation in the requested format.
  49INSTALLING the kernel:
  51 - If you install the full sources, put the kernel tarball in a
  52   directory where you have permissions (eg. your home directory) and
  53   unpack it:
  55                gzip -cd linux-2.4.XX.tar.gz | tar xvf -
  57   Replace "XX" with the version number of the latest kernel.
  59   Do NOT use the /usr/src/linux area! This area has a (usually
  60   incomplete) set of kernel headers that are used by the library header
  61   files.  They should match the library, and not get messed up by
  62   whatever the kernel-du-jour happens to be.
  64 - You can also upgrade between 2.4.xx releases by patching.  Patches are
  65   distributed in the traditional gzip and the new bzip2 format.  To
  66   install by patching, get all the newer patch files, enter the
  67   top level directory of the kernel source (linux-2.4.xx) and execute:
  69               gzip -cd ../patch-2.4.xx.gz | patch -p1
  71   or
  72               bzip2 -dc ../patch-2.4.xx.bz2 | patch -p1
  74   (repeat xx for all versions bigger than the version of your current
  75   source tree, _in_order_) and you should be ok.  You may want to remove
  76   the backup files (xxx~ or xxx.orig), and make sure that there are no
  77   failed patches (xxx# or xxx.rej). If there are, either you or me has
  78   made a mistake.
  80   Alternatively, the script patch-kernel can be used to automate this
  81   process.  It determines the current kernel version and applies any
  82   patches found.
  84                linux/scripts/patch-kernel linux
  86   The first argument in the command above is the location of the
  87   kernel source.  Patches are applied from the current directory, but
  88   an alternative directory can be specified as the second argument.
  90 - Make sure you have no stale .o files and dependencies lying around:
  92                cd linux
  93                make mrproper
  95   You should now have the sources correctly installed.
  99   Compiling and running the 2.4.xx kernels requires up-to-date
 100   versions of various software packages.  Consult
 101   ./Documentation/Changes for the minimum version numbers required
 102   and how to get updates for these packages.  Beware that using
 103   excessively old versions of these packages can cause indirect
 104   errors that are very difficult to track down, so don't assume that
 105   you can just update packages when obvious problems arise during
 106   build or operation.
 108CONFIGURING the kernel:
 110 - Do a "make config" to configure the basic kernel.  "make config" needs
 111   bash to work: it will search for bash in $BASH, /bin/bash and /bin/sh
 112   (in that order), so one of those must be correct for it to work. 
 114   Do not skip this step even if you are only upgrading one minor
 115   version.  New configuration options are added in each release, and
 116   odd problems will turn up if the configuration files are not set up
 117   as expected.  If you want to carry your existing configuration to a
 118   new version with minimal work, use "make oldconfig", which will
 119   only ask you for the answers to new questions.
 121 - Alternate configuration commands are:
 122        "make menuconfig"  Text based color menus, radiolists & dialogs.
 123        "make xconfig"     X windows based configuration tool.
 124        "make oldconfig"   Default all questions based on the contents of
 125                           your existing ./.config file.
 127        NOTES on "make config":
 128        - having unnecessary drivers will make the kernel bigger, and can
 129          under some circumstances lead to problems: probing for a
 130          nonexistent controller card may confuse your other controllers
 131        - compiling the kernel with "Processor type" set higher than 386
 132          will result in a kernel that does NOT work on a 386.  The
 133          kernel will detect this on bootup, and give up.
 134        - A kernel with math-emulation compiled in will still use the
 135          coprocessor if one is present: the math emulation will just
 136          never get used in that case.  The kernel will be slightly larger,
 137          but will work on different machines regardless of whether they
 138          have a math coprocessor or not. 
 139        - the "kernel hacking" configuration details usually result in a
 140          bigger or slower kernel (or both), and can even make the kernel
 141          less stable by configuring some routines to actively try to
 142          break bad code to find kernel problems (kmalloc()).  Thus you
 143          should probably answer 'n' to the questions for
 144          "development", "experimental", or "debugging" features.
 146 - Check the top Makefile for further site-dependent configuration
 147   (default SVGA mode etc). 
 149 - Finally, do a "make dep" to set up all the dependencies correctly. 
 151COMPILING the kernel:
 153 - Make sure you have gcc 2.95.3 available.  gcc 2.91.66 (egcs-1.1.2) may
 154   also work but is not as safe, and *gcc is no longer supported*.
 155   Also remember to upgrade your binutils package (for as/ld/nm and company)
 156   if necessary. For more information, refer to ./Documentation/Changes.
 158   Please note that you can still run a.out user programs with this kernel.
 160 - Do a "make bzImage" to create a compressed kernel image.  If you want
 161   to make a boot disk (without root filesystem or LILO), insert a floppy
 162   in your A: drive, and do a "make bzdisk".  It is also possible to do
 163   "make install" if you have lilo installed to suit the kernel makefiles,
 164   but you may want to check your particular lilo setup first. 
 166   To do the actual install you have to be root, but none of the normal
 167   build should require that. Don't take the name of root in vain.
 169 - In the unlikely event that your system cannot boot bzImage kernels you
 170   can still compile your kernel as zImage. However, since zImage support
 171   will be removed at some point in the future in favor of bzImage we
 172   encourage people having problems with booting bzImage kernels to report
 173   these, with detailed hardware configuration information, to the
 174   linux-kernel mailing list and to H. Peter Anvin <>.
 176 - If you configured any of the parts of the kernel as `modules', you
 177   will have to do "make modules" followed by "make modules_install".
 178   Read Documentation/modules.txt for more information.  For example,
 179   an explanation of how to use the modules is included there.
 181 - Keep a backup kernel handy in case something goes wrong.  This is 
 182   especially true for the development releases, since each new release
 183   contains new code which has not been debugged.  Make sure you keep a
 184   backup of the modules corresponding to that kernel, as well.  If you
 185   are installing a new kernel with the same version number as your
 186   working kernel, make a backup of your modules directory before you
 187   do a "make modules_install".
 189 - In order to boot your new kernel, you'll need to copy the kernel
 190   image (found in .../linux/arch/i386/boot/bzImage after compilation)
 191   to the place where your regular bootable kernel is found. 
 193   For some, this is on a floppy disk, in which case you can copy the
 194   kernel bzImage file to /dev/fd0 to make a bootable floppy.
 196   If you boot Linux from the hard drive, chances are you use LILO which
 197   uses the kernel image as specified in the file /etc/lilo.conf.  The
 198   kernel image file is usually /vmlinuz, /boot/vmlinuz, /bzImage or
 199   /boot/bzImage.  To use the new kernel, save a copy of the old image
 200   and copy the new image over the old one.  Then, you MUST RERUN LILO
 201   to update the loading map!! If you don't, you won't be able to boot
 202   the new kernel image.
 204   Reinstalling LILO is usually a matter of running /sbin/lilo. 
 205   You may wish to edit /etc/lilo.conf to specify an entry for your
 206   old kernel image (say, /vmlinux.old) in case the new one does not
 207   work.  See the LILO docs for more information. 
 209   After reinstalling LILO, you should be all set.  Shutdown the system,
 210   reboot, and enjoy!
 212   If you ever need to change the default root device, video mode,
 213   ramdisk size, etc.  in the kernel image, use the 'rdev' program (or
 214   alternatively the LILO boot options when appropriate).  No need to
 215   recompile the kernel to change these parameters. 
 217 - Reboot with the new kernel and enjoy. 
 221 - If you have problems that seem to be due to kernel bugs, please check
 222   the file MAINTAINERS to see if there is a particular person associated
 223   with the part of the kernel that you are having trouble with. If there
 224   isn't anyone listed there, then the second best thing is to mail
 225   them to me (, and possibly to any other
 226   relevant mailing-list or to the newsgroup.  The mailing-lists are
 227   useful especially for SCSI and networking problems, as I can't test
 228   either of those personally anyway. 
 230 - In all bug-reports, *please* tell what kernel you are talking about,
 231   how to duplicate the problem, and what your setup is (use your common
 232   sense).  If the problem is new, tell me so, and if the problem is
 233   old, please try to tell me when you first noticed it.
 235 - If the bug results in a message like
 237        unable to handle kernel paging request at address C0000010
 238        Oops: 0002
 239        EIP:   0010:XXXXXXXX
 240        eax: xxxxxxxx   ebx: xxxxxxxx   ecx: xxxxxxxx   edx: xxxxxxxx
 241        esi: xxxxxxxx   edi: xxxxxxxx   ebp: xxxxxxxx
 242        ds: xxxx  es: xxxx  fs: xxxx  gs: xxxx
 243        Pid: xx, process nr: xx
 244        xx xx xx xx xx xx xx xx xx xx
 246   or similar kernel debugging information on your screen or in your
 247   system log, please duplicate it *exactly*.  The dump may look
 248   incomprehensible to you, but it does contain information that may
 249   help debugging the problem.  The text above the dump is also
 250   important: it tells something about why the kernel dumped code (in
 251   the above example it's due to a bad kernel pointer). More information
 252   on making sense of the dump is in Documentation/oops-tracing.txt
 254 - You can use the "ksymoops" program to make sense of the dump.  This
 255   utility can be downloaded from
 256   ftp://ftp.<country>
 257   Alternately you can do the dump lookup by hand:
 259 - In debugging dumps like the above, it helps enormously if you can
 260   look up what the EIP value means.  The hex value as such doesn't help
 261   me or anybody else very much: it will depend on your particular
 262   kernel setup.  What you should do is take the hex value from the EIP
 263   line (ignore the "0010:"), and look it up in the kernel namelist to
 264   see which kernel function contains the offending address.
 266   To find out the kernel function name, you'll need to find the system
 267   binary associated with the kernel that exhibited the symptom.  This is
 268   the file 'linux/vmlinux'.  To extract the namelist and match it against
 269   the EIP from the kernel crash, do:
 271                nm vmlinux | sort | less
 273   This will give you a list of kernel addresses sorted in ascending
 274   order, from which it is simple to find the function that contains the
 275   offending address.  Note that the address given by the kernel
 276   debugging messages will not necessarily match exactly with the
 277   function addresses (in fact, that is very unlikely), so you can't
 278   just 'grep' the list: the list will, however, give you the starting
 279   point of each kernel function, so by looking for the function that
 280   has a starting address lower than the one you are searching for but
 281   is followed by a function with a higher address you will find the one
 282   you want.  In fact, it may be a good idea to include a bit of
 283   "context" in your problem report, giving a few lines around the
 284   interesting one. 
 286   If you for some reason cannot do the above (you have a pre-compiled
 287   kernel image or similar), telling me as much about your setup as
 288   possible will help. 
 290 - Alternately, you can use gdb on a running kernel. (read-only; i.e. you
 291   cannot change values or set break points.) To do this, first compile the
 292   kernel with -g; edit arch/i386/Makefile appropriately, then do a "make
 293   clean". You'll also need to enable CONFIG_PROC_FS (via "make config").
 295   After you've rebooted with the new kernel, do "gdb vmlinux /proc/kcore".
 296   You can now use all the usual gdb commands. The command to look up the
 297   point where your system crashed is "l *0xXXXXXXXX". (Replace the XXXes
 298   with the EIP value.)
 300   gdb'ing a non-running kernel currently fails because gdb (wrongly)
 301   disregards the starting offset for which the kernel is compiled.