EBC Exercise 23 Configuring the Kernel

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thumb‎ Embedded Linux Class by Mark A. Yoder

3.8 Kernel

These instructions are for the 3.8 kernel. See EBC Exercise 23 Configuring the Kernel - bitbake for the 3.2 kernel.

In a previous exercises (EBC Exercise 08a Cross-Compiling and EBC Exercise 08 Installing Development Tools) you learned how to get and compile the kernel. Here we'll look at configuring it.

Finding the kernel sources

First set up the environment and go to the kernel directory

host$ source ~/crossCompileEnv.sh  (set up in EBC Exercise 08a Cross-Compiling)
host$ cd ~/BeagleBoard/linux-dev/KERNEL

Getting kernel make help

Once there try some of the make commands. Help is a good place to start.

host$ make help | less
Cleaning targets:
  clean           - Remove most generated files but keep the config and
                    enough build support to build external modules
  mrproper        - Remove all generated files + config + various backup files
  distclean       - mrproper + remove editor backup and patch files

Configuration targets:
  config          - Update current config utilising a line-oriented program
  menuconfig      - Update current config utilising a menu based program
  xconfig         - Update current config utilising a QT based front-end
  gconfig         - Update current config utilising a GTK based front-end

This produces a list of common make targets.

Finding and installing support software

There are several ways to configure the kernel. make config will prompt you line-by-line for each of the settings, very tedious, not recommended. Try

host$ make menuconfig
 *** Unable to find the ncurses libraries or the
 *** required header files.
 *** 'make menuconfig' requires the ncurses libraries.
 *** Install ncurses (ncurses-devel) and try again.
make[1]: *** [scripts/kconfig/dochecklxdialog] Error 1
make: *** [menuconfig] Error 2

If you get the error above, you need to install the ncurses library. Here are notes on how to discover what to install and installing it.

NOTE FOR UBUNTU USERS: 'sudo apt-get install libncurses5-dev' without quotes will install ncurses

Configuring the kernel

Try the various interfaces for configuring the kernel.

host$ make menuconfig
host$ make xconfig
host$ make gconfig

I had to run the following to get these to work.

host$ sudo apt install libncurses5-dev
host$ sudo apt install qt4-dev-tools
host$ sudo apt install libglade2-dev


If your Beagle fails to boot, follow the EBC_Exercise_22_Recovering instructions to recover.

thumb‎ Embedded Linux Class by Mark A. Yoder