Kernel configuration and documentation

Martin Schulze (joey@finlandia.Infodrom.North.DE)
Sat, 22 Jul 95 00:57 MET DST

Dear folks!

Albert Cahalans mail broke a frontier built up in me....

First I will leave some comments on configuring the kernel.

1. It's very good that you can easily configure it using the Configure
script. Unfortunately many things have to get recompiled after
that, but computers are getting faster...

2. To my feeling there are far too little comments about what all the
settings are about. Sometimes even I run into trouble, 'cause I
didn't know what's meant. And what will a newbie think?

So I would very much appreciate a file describing every setting you
can make in the configure script. In this file I would like to have
a description that even a newbie understands and at some places a
more technical view, with pointers to the source where some things
can also get tuned.

Maybe the Configure script can also be extended to support a help
function which displays a little (10 lines or so) description about
the current define.

3. There are many kernel settings which are not carried with the
configure script. I would appriciate introducing another script (or
perhaps a complex program so you don't have to recompile the
kernel) to adjust the kernel. I mean, set max number of processes
(at all and per user), set number of ttys, set kernel output (to a
serial line?) and such things. Just finetuning the kernel.

Maybe another thing can be added here, adjusting the autoprobing
for some strange ethercards, cdroms or whatever, say adding or
deleting some addresses.

4. All these configuration and adjusting stuff should be kept in some
files that are used in newer kernels, too.

Albert Cahalan said:

| All the adjustable defines are kept in a database. Each define is
| classified with cross-references, dependencies, and options. This

Hmm, that may be quite good to track down the time needed for
compiling the kernel. But the problem that I see is that Linus has to
keep this database (at least the dependencies section) up to date,
which will be a stupid job. But nevertheless I think this would be a
good idea.

| is so that different config programs can have different menu systems,
| yet be (mostly) independent of the kernel version.

What do you mean?

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

Your're joking, aren't you? I can't see any reason using anything from
poor DOS. :-(

What I suggest is:

a) A document describing all the different switches, their
advantages and disadvantages, their dependencies and

b) More (or at least any!) descriptive text while running the
configure script. This should contain enough important
information, but shouldn't be too technical.

You may have a look at the description files used in Patric
Volkerdings Slackware.

To come to an end. There are two proposals that we should think of.