Note

As a common example, drivers for SCSI disk drives must be available to the kernel if you intend to boot from SCSI disks. If the kernel is not compiled with those drivers in-line, the system will not boot because it will not be able to access the disks.

A way around this problem for modular kernels is to use an initial Ram disk (initrd) discussed later in "Creating an Initial RAM Disk Image." The initrd loads a small kernel and the appropriate device driver, which then can access the device to load the actual kernel you want to run.

Some code can only be one or the other (for technical reasons unimportant to the average user), but most code can be compiled either as modular or in-line. Depending on the application, some system administrators prefer one way over the other, but with fast modern processors and abundant system memory, the performance differences are of little concern to all but the most ardent Linux hackers.

When compiling a kernel, the step in which you make the selection of modular or in-line is part of the make config step that we will detail later in this chapter. Unless you have a specific reason to do otherwise, we suggest that you select the modular option when given a choice. The process of managing modules is addressed in the next section because you will be managing them more frequently than you will be compiling a kernel.

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