Re: kernel config

Roland Dunkerley (
Fri, 21 Jul 95 18:42:24 PDT

>>>>> ":" == dholland <> writes:

>> It seems that many people want to change the way the kernel is
>> compiled, but nobody can find a good solution. A new config
>> program _must_ be supported by Linus because anything else will
>> not be kept in sync with the kernel.

:> Agreed.

>> Some ideas:
>> All the adjustable defines are kept in a database. Each define
>> is classified with cross-references, dependencies, and options.
>> This is so that different config programs can have different
>> menu systems, yet be (mostly) independent of the kernel
>> version.

:> And what format shall this take? It needs to be parsable from
:> sh using only expr, sed, and awk.

Only if not a single kernel hacker understands lex/yacc well enough to
write a parser to do the necessary Makefile/header configuration.
Seriously, why would it need to be parsable from sh at all? Can
include a flex/bison grammar (pre flexed/bisoned even, though I doubt
this would at all be necessary, I would guess that flex and bison are
much more ubiquitous on machines with development tools installed than
perl would be.) with the rest of the kernel sources, that would get
built with make config. The sound driver already has a configure
program written in C.

>> Help is stored in a separate file. Each define gets a
>> paragraph. The DOS 5 help file format is simple to use

:> Um, shouldn't we use something flexible that meets our needs
:> rather than somebody else's?

I'll second that.

>> This needs to be done in 1.3.x really soon.

:> Maybe. I'm not convinced the configuration is that badly
:> broken. Proper documentation of the sources is more important,
:> in my opinion. ;-)

Proper documentation would be nice. Man pages for kernel internal
functions would be really nice. Probably wouldn't take too long to
have most of the major ones if someone were to volunteer to collect
the kernel-man pages and ask people to write just one. I'm too busy
lately myself to collect them, but I'd be willing to write a page or
two. The current configuration doesn't bother me too much. I hate it
when I have to start all over or go manually edit the files when I
flub a single one up though. So I think some improvement could be
achieved in that area, just don't think it is the most important thing
happening with linux right now. I think the performance issues
(particularly with NFS) for example are far more important. If
someone were to present a well thought database format, I'd volunteer
to write a parser for it however. For that matter, the database file
could be a binary file, but that would be nonportable. It's really
not like the kernel isn't full of C code already, won't hurt if it's
configurator is also in C. Of course, Linus does have to like it
enough to use it or it will be useless.

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