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1. Introduction

Should you read this document? Well, see if you've got any of the following symptoms:

1.1 Read this first! (I mean it)

Some of the examples in this document assume that you have GNU tar, find, and xargs. These are quite standard; this should not cause problems. It is also assumed that you know your system's filesystem structure; if you don't, it is critical that you keep a written copy of the mount command's output during normal system operation (or a listing of /etc/fstab, if you can read it). This information is important, and does not change unless you repartition your disk, add a new one, reinstall your system, or something similar.

The latest ``production'' kernel version at the time of this writing was 2.2.9, meaning that the references and examples correspond to that release. Even though I try to make this document as version-independent as possible, the kernel is constantly under development, so if you get a newer release, it will inevitably have some differences. Again, this should not cause major problems, but it may create some confusion.

There are two versions of the linux kernel source, ``production'' and ``development.'' Production releases are the even-minor-numbered releases; 1.2.x was production, 2.0.x is production, as well as 2.2.x. These kernels are considered to be the most stable, bug-free versions available at the time of release. The development kernels (2.1.x, 2.3.x, etc) are meant as testing kernels, for people willing to test out new and possibly very buggy kernels. You have been warned.

1.2 A word on style

Text that looks like this is either something that appears on your screen, a filename, or something that can be directly typed in, such as a command, or options to a command (if you're looking at a plain-text file, it doesn't look any different). Commands and other input are frequently quoted (with ` '), which causes the following classic punctuation problem: if such an item appears at the end of a sentence in quotes, people often type a `.' along with the command, because the American quoting style says to put the period inside of the quotation marks. Even though common sense (and unfortunately, this assumes that the one with the ``common sense'' is used to the so-called American style of quotation) should tell one to strip off the punctuation first, many people simply do not remember, so I will place it outside the quotation marks in such cases. In other words, when indicating that you should type ``make config'' I would write `make config', not `make config.'

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