Linux kernel release 2.2.xx
These are the release notes for Linux version 2.2. Read them carefully,
as they tell you what this is all about, explain how to install the
kernel, and what to do if something goes wrong.
However, please make sure you don't ask questions which are already answered
in various files in the Documentation directory. See DOCUMENTATION below.
WHAT IS LINUX?
Linux is a Unix clone written from scratch by Linus Torvalds with
assistance from a loosely-knit team of hackers across the Net.
It aims towards POSIX compliance.
It has all the features you would expect in a modern fully-fledged
Unix, including true multitasking, virtual memory, shared libraries,
demand loading, shared copy-on-write executables, proper memory
management and TCP/IP networking.
It is distributed under the GNU General Public License - see the
accompanying COPYING file for more details.
ON WHAT HARDWARE DOES IT RUN?
Linux was first developed for 386/486-based PCs. These days it also
runs on ARMs, DEC Alphas, SUN Sparcs, M68000 machines (like Atari and
Amiga), MIPS and PowerPC, and others.
- There is a lot of documentation available both in electronic form on
the Internet and in books, both Linux-specific and pertaining to
general UNIX questions. I'd recommend looking into the documentation
subdirectories on any Linux FTP site for the LDP (Linux Documentation
Project) books. This README is not meant to be documentation on the
system: there are much better sources available.
- There are various README files in the Documentation/ subdirectory:
these typically contain kernel-specific installation notes for some
drivers for example. See ./Documentation/00-INDEX for a list of what
is contained in each file. Please read the Changes file, as it
contains information about the problems, which may result by upgrading
INSTALLING the kernel:
- If you install the full sources, do a
gzip -cd linux-2.2.XX.tar.gz | tar xfv -
to get it all put in place. Replace "XX" with the version number of the
- You can also upgrade between 2.2.xx releases by patching. Patches are
distributed in the traditional gzip and the new bzip2 format. To
install by patching, get all the newer patch files and do
gzip -cd patchXX.gz | patch -p0
bzip2 -dc patchXX.bz2 | patch -p0
(repeat xx for all versions bigger than the version of your current
source tree, _in_order_) and you should be ok. You may want to remove
the backup files (xxx~ or xxx.orig), and make sure that there are no
failed patches (xxx# or xxx.rej). If there are, either you or me has
made a mistake.
Alternatively, the script patch-kernel can be used to automate this
process. It determines the current kernel version and applies any
The default directory for the kernel source is /usr/src/linux, but
can be specified as the first argument. Patches are applied from
the current directory, but an alternative directory can be specified
as the second argument.
- Make sure you have no stale .o files and dependencies lying around:
You should now have the sources correctly installed.
Compiling and running the 2.2.xx kernels requires up-to-date
versions of various software packages. Consult
./Documentation/Changes for the minimum version numbers required
and how to get updates for these packages. Beware that using
excessively old versions of these packages can cause indirect
errors that are very difficult to track down, so don't assume that
you can just update packages when obvious problems arise during
build or operation.
CONFIGURING the kernel:
- Do a "make config" to configure the basic kernel. "make config" needs
bash to work: it will search for bash in $BASH, /bin/bash and /bin/sh
(in that order), so one of those must be correct for it to work.
Do not skip this step even if you are only upgrading one minor
version. New configuration options are added in each release, and
odd problems will turn up if the configuration files are not set up
as expected. If you want to carry your existing configuration to a
new version with minimal work, use "make oldconfig", which will
only ask you for the answers to new questions.
- Alternate configuration commands are:
"make menuconfig" Text based color menus, radiolists & dialogs.
"make xconfig" X windows based configuration tool.
"make oldconfig" Default all questions based on the contents of
your existing ./.config file.
NOTES on "make config":
- having unnecessary drivers will make the kernel bigger, and can
under some circumstances lead to problems: probing for a
nonexistent controller card may confuse your other controllers
- compiling the kernel with "Processor type" set higher than 386
will result in a kernel that does NOT work on a 386. The
kernel will detect this on bootup, and give up.
- A kernel with math-emulation compiled in will still use the
coprocessor if one is present: the math emulation will just
never get used in that case. The kernel will be slightly larger,
but will work on different machines regardless of whether they
have a math coprocessor or not.
- the "kernel hacking" configuration details usually result in a
bigger or slower kernel (or both), and can even make the kernel
less stable by configuring some routines to actively try to
break bad code to find kernel problems (kmalloc()). Thus you
should probably answer 'n' to the questions for
"development", "experimental", or "debugging" features.
- Check the top Makefile for further site-dependent configuration
(default SVGA mode etc).
- Finally, do a "make dep" to set up all the dependencies correctly.
COMPILING the kernel:
- Make sure you have gcc-2.7.2 or newer available. It seems older gcc
versions can have problems compiling newer versions of Linux. This
is mainly because the older compilers can only generate "a.out"-format
executables. As of Linux 2.1.0, the kernel must be compiled as an
"ELF" binary. If you upgrade your compiler, remember to get the new
binutils package too (for as/ld/nm and company).
Please note that you can still run a.out user programs with this
- Do a "make zImage" to create a compressed kernel image. If you want
to make a boot disk (without root filesystem or LILO), insert a floppy
in your A: drive, and do a "make zdisk". It is also possible to do
"make zlilo" if you have lilo installed to suit the kernel makefiles,
but you may want to check your particular lilo setup first.
- If your kernel is too large for "make zImage", use "make bzImage"
- If you configured any of the parts of the kernel as `modules', you
will have to do "make modules" followed by "make modules_install".
Read Documentation/modules.txt for more information. For example,
an explanation of how to use the modules is included there.
- Keep a backup kernel handy in case something goes wrong. This is
especially true for the development releases, since each new release
contains new code which has not been debugged. Make sure you keep a
backup of the modules corresponding to that kernel, as well. If you
are installing a new kernel with the same version number as your
working kernel, make a backup of your modules directory before you
do a "make modules_install".
- In order to boot your new kernel, you'll need to copy the kernel
image (found in /usr/src/linux/arch/i386/boot/zImage after compilation)
to the place where your regular bootable kernel is found.
For some, this is on a floppy disk, in which case you can "cp
/usr/src/linux/arch/i386/boot/zImage /dev/fd0" to make a bootable
floppy. Please note that you can not boot a kernel by
directly dumping it to a 720k double-density 3.5" floppy. In this
case, it is highly recommended that you install LILO on your
double-density boot floppy or switch to high-density floppies.
If you boot Linux from the hard drive, chances are you use LILO which
uses the kernel image as specified in the file /etc/lilo.conf. The
kernel image file is usually /vmlinuz, or /zImage, or /etc/zImage.
To use the new kernel, save a copy of the old image and copy the new
image over the old one. Then, you MUST RERUN LILO to update the
loading map!! If you don't, you won't be able to boot the new kernel
Reinstalling LILO is usually a matter of running /sbin/lilo.
You may wish to edit /etc/lilo.conf to specify an entry for your
old kernel image (say, /vmlinux.old) in case the new one does not
work. See the LILO docs for more information.
After reinstalling LILO, you should be all set. Shutdown the system,
reboot, and enjoy!
If you ever need to change the default root device, video mode,
ramdisk size, etc. in the kernel image, use the 'rdev' program (or
alternatively the LILO boot options when appropriate). No need to
recompile the kernel to change these parameters.
- Reboot with the new kernel and enjoy.
IF SOMETHING GOES WRONG:
- If you have problems that seem to be due to kernel bugs, please check
the file MAINTAINERS to see if there is a particular person associated
with the part of the kernel that you are having trouble with. If there
isn't anyone listed there, then the second best thing is to mail
them to me (firstname.lastname@example.org), and possibly to any other
relevant mailing-list or to the newsgroup. The mailing-lists are
useful especially for SCSI and networking problems, as I can't test
either of those personally anyway.
- In all bug-reports, *please* tell what kernel you are talking about,
how to duplicate the problem, and what your setup is (use your common
sense). If the problem is new, tell me so, and if the problem is
old, please try to tell me when you first noticed it.
- If the bug results in a message like
unable to handle kernel paging request at address C0000010
eax: xxxxxxxx ebx: xxxxxxxx ecx: xxxxxxxx edx: xxxxxxxx
esi: xxxxxxxx edi: xxxxxxxx ebp: xxxxxxxx
ds: xxxx es: xxxx fs: xxxx gs: xxxx
Pid: xx, process nr: xx
xx xx xx xx xx xx xx xx xx xx
or similar kernel debugging information on your screen or in your
system log, please duplicate it *exactly*. The dump may look
incomprehensible to you, but it does contain information that may
help debugging the problem. The text above the dump is also
important: it tells something about why the kernel dumped code (in
the above example it's due to a bad kernel pointer). More information
on making sense of the dump is in Documentation/oops-tracing.txt
- You can use the "ksymoops" program to make sense of the dump. Find
the C++ sources under the scripts/ directory to avoid having to do
the dump lookup by hand:
- In debugging dumps like the above, it helps enormously if you can
look up what the EIP value means. The hex value as such doesn't help
me or anybody else very much: it will depend on your particular
kernel setup. What you should do is take the hex value from the EIP
line (ignore the "0010:"), and look it up in the kernel namelist to
see which kernel function contains the offending address.
To find out the kernel function name, you'll need to find the system
binary associated with the kernel that exhibited the symptom. This is
the file 'linux/vmlinux'. To extract the namelist and match it against
the EIP from the kernel crash, do:
nm vmlinux | sort | less
This will give you a list of kernel addresses sorted in ascending
order, from which it is simple to find the function that contains the
offending address. Note that the address given by the kernel
debugging messages will not necessarily match exactly with the
function addresses (in fact, that is very unlikely), so you can't
just 'grep' the list: the list will, however, give you the starting
point of each kernel function, so by looking for the function that
has a starting address lower than the one you are searching for but
is followed by a function with a higher address you will find the one
you want. In fact, it may be a good idea to include a bit of
"context" in your problem report, giving a few lines around the
If you for some reason cannot do the above (you have a pre-compiled
kernel image or similar), telling me as much about your setup as
possible will help.
- Alternately, you can use gdb on a running kernel. (read-only; i.e. you
cannot change values or set break points.) To do this, first compile the
kernel with -g; edit arch/i386/Makefile appropriately, then do a "make
clean". You'll also need to enable CONFIG_PROC_FS (via "make config").
After you've rebooted with the new kernel, do "gdb vmlinux /proc/kcore".
You can now use all the usual gdb commands. The command to look up the
point where your system crashed is "l *0xXXXXXXXX". (Replace the XXXes
with the EIP value.)
gdb'ing a non-running kernel currently fails because gdb (wrongly)
disregards the starting offset for which the kernel is compiled.