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Chapter 1. Preface

When the topic of this book was first presented to me, I dismissed it as something that was already covered by the plentiful documentation about the Linux kernel. Surely someone had already written down all of the basics needed in order to build, install, and customize the Linux kernel, as it seemed to be a very simple task to me. [1]

After digging through the different HOWTOs and the Linux kernel Documentation directory, I came to the conclusion that there was not any one place where all of this information could be found. It could be gleaned by referencing a few files here, and a few outdated websites there, but this was not acceptable for anyone who did not know exactly what they were looking in the first place.

So this book was created with the goal of consolidating all of the existing information already scattered around the Internet about building the Linux kernel, as well as adding a lot of new and useful information that was not written down anywhere but had been learned by trial and error over my years of doing kernel development.

My secret goal of this book is to bring more people into the Linux kernel development fold. The act of building a customized kernel for your machine is one of the basic tasks needed to become a Linux kernel developer. The more people that try this out, and realize that there is not any real magic behind the whole Linux kernel process, the more people will be willing to jump in and help out in making the kernel the best that it can be.

Audience for the book

This book is intended to cover everything that is needed to know in order to properly build, customize, and install the Linux kernel. No programming experience is needed to understand and use this book.

Some familiarity with how to use Linux, and some basic command-line usage is expected of the reader.

This book is not intended to go into the programming aspects of the Linux kernel; there are many other good books listed in the Bibliography that already cover this topic.

[1] Disclaimer: I'm a Linux kernel developer by trade, so things that seem basic and simple to me at times are completely incomprehensible by most people, as my family continues to remind me at times.

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