Table 351 Kernel Subsections for Configuration


Code maturity level options

General setup

Loadable module support

Processor type and features

Power management options

Bus options

Memory Technology Devices (MTD)

Parallel port support

Plug-and-play configuration


Enables development code to be compiled into the kernel even if it has been marked as obsolete or as testing code only. This option should only be used by kernel developers or testers because of the possible unusable state of the code during development.

This section contains several different options covering how the kernel talks to the BIOS, whether it should support PCI or PCMCIA, whether it should use APM or ACPI, and what kind of Linux binary formats will be supported. Contains several options for supporting kernel structures necessary to run binaries compiled for other systems directly without recompiling the program.

Determines whether the kernel enables drivers and other nonessential code to be compiled as loadable modules that can be loaded and unloaded at runtime. This option keeps the basic kernel small so that it can run and respond more quickly; in that regard, choosing this option is generally a good idea.

Several options dealing with the architecture that will be running the kernel.

Options dealing with ACPI and APM power management features.

Configuration options for the PCMCIA bus found in laptops and PCI hotplug devices.

Options for supporting flash memory devices, such as EEPROMS. Generally, these devices are used in embedded systems.

Several options for configuring how the kernel will support parallel port communications.

Options for supporting Plug and Play PCI, ISA, and plug-and-play BIOS support. Generally, it is a good idea to support plug-and-play for PCI and ISA devices.

Block devices

ATA/IDE/MFM/RLL support SCSI device support Old CD-ROM drivers Multi-device support

Fusion MPT device support

IEEE1394 (firewire) support I20 device support

Networking support

Amateur radio support IrDA (infrared) support

Bluetooth support

Section dealing with devices that communicate with the kernel in blocks of characters instead of streams. This includes IDE and ATAPI devices connected via parallel ports, as well as enabling network devices to communicate as block devices.

Large collection of options to configure the kernel to communicate using different types of data communication protocols to talk to mass storage devices, such as hard drives. Note that this section does not cover SCSI.

Options for configuring the kernel to support Small Computer Systems Interface. This subsection covers drivers for specific cards, chipsets, and tunable parameters for the SCSI protocol.

Configuration options to support obscure, older CD-ROM devices that do not conform to the SCSI or IDE standards. These are typically older CD-ROM drivers that are usually a proprietary type of SCSI (not SCSI, not IDE).

Options for enabling the kernel to support RAID devices in (RAID and LVM) software emulation and the different levels of RAID. Also contains options for support of a logical volume manager.

Configures support for LSI's Logic Fusion Message Passing Technology. This technology is for high performance SCSI and local area network interfaces.

Experimental support for Firewire devices.

Options for supporting the Intelligent Input/Output architecture. This architecture enables the hardware driver to be split from the operating system driver, thus enabling a multitude of hardware devices to be compatible with an operating system in one implementation.

Several options for the configuration of networking in the kernel. The options are for the types of supported protocols and configurable options of those protocols.

Options for configuring support of devices that support the AX25 protocol.

Options for configuring support of the infrared Data Association suite of protocols and devices that use these protocols.

Support for the Bluetooth wireless protocol. Includes options to support the Bluetooth protocols and hardware devices.

ISDN subsystem

Telephony support

Input device support

Character devices

Multimedia devices

Graphics support


USB support

File system

Additional device driver support Profiling support

Kernel hacking

Security options

Cryptographic options

Options to support Integrated Services Digital Networks protocols and devices. ISDN is a method of connection to a large area network digitally over conditioned telephone lines, largely found to connect users to ISPs.

Support for devices that enable the use of regular telephone lines to support VoIP applications. This section does not handle the configuration of modems.

Options for configuring Universal Serial Bus (USB) Human Interface Devices (HID). These include keyboards, mice, and joysticks.

Configuration options for devices that communicate to the server in sequential characters. This is a large subsection containing the drivers for several motherboard chipsets.

Drivers for hardware implementations of video and sound devices such as video capture boards, TV cards, and AM/FM radio adapter cards.

Configures VGA text console, video mode selection, and support for frame buffer cards.

Large subsection to configure supported sound card drivers and chipset support for the kernel.

Universal Serial Bus configuration options. Includes configuration for USB devices, as well as vendor-specific versions of USB.

Configuration options for supported file system types.

A section for third-party patches.

Profiling kernel behavior to aid in debugging and development.

This section determines whether the kernel will contain advanced debugging options. Most users will not want to include this option in their production kernels because it increases the kernel size and slows performance by adding extra routines.

Determines whether NSA Security Enhanced Linux (SELinux) is enabled.

Support for cryptography hardware (Ubuntu patches not found in the "vanilla" kernel sources).

Library routines

Contains zlib compression support.

After you select all the options you want, you can save the configuration file and continue with step 7 in the kernel compiling checklist shown earlier.

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