Is there a way to know if the kernel was compiled with a certain option activated (i.e. CONFIG_PROC_EVENTS=y) without having to pull out the kernel sources package and looking in the config file?


4 Answers 4


If you look through your /boot directory you'll notice these files:

$ ls -l /boot/|grep config
-rw-r--r--  1 root root   109919 Oct 21  2011 config-
-rw-r--r--  1 root root   109919 Oct 27  2011 config-
-rw-r--r--  1 root root   109919 Nov 23  2011 config-

Notice what version of the Kernel you're using:

$ uname -r

If you grep through the appropriate "config-uname -r" file you can see what options the Kernel was built with:

$ grep CONFIG_PROC_EVENTS= /boot/config-`uname -r`


  • 12
    That's true in Debian based distros, but may not be true in others, i.e. Arch Linux.
    – Alicia
    Jul 17, 2013 at 6:56
  • 1
    @ntrrgc - I can't confirm for ArchLinux, but it's that way for RedHat, Debian, & Ubuntu. These 3 distros cover most of the *nix world. If someone has a ArchLinux distro can you please confirm this approach?
    – slm
    Jul 17, 2013 at 11:24
  • 5
    I use Arch Linux and I can confirm this does not work in Arch Linux.
    – Alicia
    Jul 17, 2013 at 15:31
  • @slm this isn't even true for Ubuntu, at least Kubuntu. I just checked — the only thing I have in /boot/ is grub directory.
    – Hi-Angel
    Nov 24, 2015 at 15:52
  • @slm perhaps are these configs a part of some package? Then it would be enough to list files of that package.
    – Hi-Angel
    Nov 24, 2015 at 16:02

Kernel options can be found in /proc/config.gz.

zgrep CONFIG_PROC_EVENTS= /proc/config.gz

if the kernel was compiled with CONFIG_IKCONFIG_PROC=y. If the kernel was compiled with CONFIG_IKCONFIG_PROC=m, then it may be necessary to first modprobe configs.

  • 1
    This did not work for me on any of the distros that I had available: Debian, RedHat based, nor Ubuntu. These are all stock systems so I don't think this approach is that useful unless you built your kernel yourself or your particular distro provides it.
    – slm
    Jul 17, 2013 at 11:25
  • 8
    In distro kernels, the IKCONFIG option may be enabled only as a module. Try to modprobe configs and check if /proc/config.gz shows up.
    – XZS
    Sep 5, 2013 at 15:21

If your kernel was build with CONFIG_IKCONFIG_PROC, you can find the configuration listed in /proc/config.gz

zless /proc/config.gz

Debian and Redhat based kernel packages generally install a config-$version file in /boot,

less /boot/config-$(uname -r)

In Debian you can also find the default options in kernel-package's ./kernel/Config/config as well as architecture specific configuration options in ./kernel/Config/.

mkdir /tmp/k
cd /tmp/k
apt-get source kernel-package
find . -path '*/kernel/Config/*' -type f

sudo find / -xdev -name .config(-xdev keeps it on one filesystem)

Generally it will be under /usr/src/some-specific-kernel-header-version/.config

Just read it as any text, search with grep, or to see how two versions differ diff -y -suppress-common-lines /path/linux2.6-r3/.config /path/linux2.6-r4/.config

  • 2
    Well, dangit. Someone gave Max a -1, but out of all the methods here, it worked on my RHEL7 machine. So, I have no choice: +1. I found my file at /usr/src/kernels/3.10.0-1062.el7.x86_64/.config
    – Mike S
    Aug 5, 2021 at 16:30
  • 1
    @MikeS I think I was on Debian at that answer date, but I was using CentOS7 not long before.
    – Max Power
    Sep 30, 2021 at 20:47

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