Kernel/Configuration/Kernel Seeds

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Users who plan to use the ~decade old seeds from the homepage mentioned would need to, at least, run make oldconfig so that the kernel configuration is updated. Even then the configuration might end up invalid. The suggested way is to configure without the any old seed or to find more recent, tested, seeds to work with.

Kernel seeds are pre-made kernel configuration files. They are not necessary to use when configuring a kernel, but they, along with tools such as genkernel, are helpful for users who may be unfamiliar with configuring the Linux kernel.


Once upon a time a Gentoo user by the name of Pappy had an idea. Since configuring the Linux kernel can take much time out of a person's day, why not share generic configuration files with other users? Sharing a configuration file is as easy as putting a link to the file on the internet for any user to download. In Pappy's own words, Kernel Seeds are a "sane make defconfig for the real world."

What are the benefits of using Kernel Seed?

  • Most default settings will be automatically configured.
  • Time can be saved; using a pre-configured Seed is more efficient than starting without a .config file.

What are the hindrances of using Kernel Seeds?

  • Negates learning the "tough stuff" for the user.
  • In many cases users need to perform additional configuration steps in order to make the Seed bootable; seeds are not bootable "out-of-the-box".
  • Usually the process (see below) takes longer than using Genkernel.


Setting up the environment to use a Kernel Seed is not difficult at all, it's as simple a copying the .config file off the web into the current set of Kernel sources.

Verify the symlink is set to the newest emerged Kernel sources:

root #eselect kernel list

Substitute <number> in the next command with the desired Kernel sources number (left column) in the list printed by the previous command:

root #eselect kernel set <number>

Grab the Kernel Seed configuration file off the internet by using a utility of choice. wget (net-misc/wget) is used in the next example:

root #wget [Kernel-Seed-URL] -O /usr/src/linux/.config

Figure out what additional drivers the system will need by inspecting the PCI and USB devices with the appropriate tools. Installing sys-apps/pciutils and sys-apps/usbutils will be required for this step, as they contain the utilities for the task at hand.

root #lspci -nnk
root #lsusb -vv

View the output generated from lspci and lsusb. Add any needed drivers to the kernel configuration by using the menu target of choice (menuconfig, xconfig, gconfig):

root #make menuconfig

Once everything is set, run the the following make commands to built the new kernel:

root #make && make modules_install

Verify /boot is mounted (if applicable) and then install the newly build sources to the /boot location:

root #mount /boot
root #make install

If needed, perform additional steps to add the new kernel to the system's boot loader. Supposing the system uses GRUB:

root #grub-mkconfig -o /boot/grub/grub.cfg

Reboot the system. After (if) the system reboots successfully look at the output of dmesg. A full log be can viewed by looking at the dmesg log file located at /var/log/dmesg with the pager of choice.

See also