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Could anyone explain me what the kernel build tree is?

What files does it include?

How can I obtain it from a cross-compiled kernel source (e.g. 3.4.0)?

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Which distro are you dealing with or do you mean just in general? – slm May 21 '13 at 21:28
@slm: I am using an old Debian (lenny) – sven May 21 '13 at 21:44

well the kernel build tree, is the kernel source itself

to get it an "install" it you should:

  1. download kernel you want at www.kernel.org (in your case 3.4.0).
  2. extract to /usr/src
  3. ln -s linux-xxxxx linux

I think you can download it as well via apt like sudo apt-get install linux-source (if you need the 3.4.0 make sure that your debian has it as package)

With the information that you want to cross-compile your kernel to load it in an external device, I will assume that you want to do it for an arm-based device http://www.arm.linux.org.uk/docs/kerncomp.php if it's not, you can easily adapt it to another plataform

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1) what is linux-xxxx linux? what are you linking to what? 2) it is a cross-compiled kernel, I will load it to a microsd card, if I softlink it to the linux directory, won't there be a broken link since I will insert the microSD into another device, I really could not understand how do you link files and where? If you are linking the whole kernel source which is 454 MB. But the kernel header that can be downloaded by apt-get is significantly smaller. – sven May 22 '13 at 14:33
if you want to compile it and load it in a microsd card you should write it in your question. The xxxx is the version from the kernel that you downloaded. I will update my answer based on your new informaiton – VP. May 22 '13 at 21:05

I recently started Kernel development and I thought I share a couple of resources with you which I find to be very informative. First lets begin with the Kernel Newbies and their section on how to build the kernel. Please visit this site to read more:


The other side I would liket to share is the Book from Georg Kroah-Hartmann that is available online here:


Also, there are different kernel trees available such as the regular stable Linux tree and the linux-next tree which ends in –rc# (you will understand what I mean by reading Hartmann’s book). The Linux-next kernel is the one that is currently developed to be the next stable version of the kernel. I hope this information will support your goals with the kernel and you enjoy the resources.

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