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I am using a CentOS and I have enabled the USB driver for GSM and CDMA modems using make menuconfig.

But, how does it work? After changing in menuconfig, is the modification performed in the moment? Or do I have to compile the whole kernel in order to get this configuration?

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    The accepted answer is great and correctly answers your question. But you should be aware that it should be enough to build the driver as a kernel module and load it, instead of building a whole new kernel. And even if you want to build a custom kernel there are tools to make the process simpler, see wiki.centos.org/HowTos/Custom_Kernel
    – simon
    Jul 17, 2017 at 12:11

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With make menuconfig you only change the configuration file .config which is used in the compilation process. One doesn't need to use this menuconfig tool - there are other scripts for that or one can even edit .config by hand (although this is error prone and thus not recommended).

So in order to finish the task you've started you need to compile the kernel with new settings, copy that kernel to /boot (or wherever your boot loader is reading), optionally update link /usr/src/linux to point to correct source, add to grub (or other bootloader you use) a line with new kernel, and after that just reboot, select the previously set line in the grub menu, and voilà.

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After changing in menuconfig, is the modification performed in the moment? Or do I have to compile the whole kernel in order to get this configuration?

The changes will be applied after the 4 steps:

  1. Configure the kernel ( enable the USB driver for GSM and CDMA modems)
  2. Build the kernel
  3. install the kernel
  4. reboot into the custom kernel

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