Building a custom kernel is usually not necessary to use Linux, but it can improve your system's performance. By including the appropriate features, setting the options to best suit your hardware, and excluding any unnecessary features, you can create a kernel that takes best advantage of your hardware. The tools for doing this task have changed in the 2.5.x development kernel, but the general procedure for making these optimizations is the same: You select the options you want to include using special tools, compile a new kernel, install it, and use it. Whenever you undertake these steps, you should be careful to preserve a known working kernel. An error during kernel compilation can create an unbootable system, so having a working fallback position is cheap insurance against a problem that could be tedious to correct.

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