Debian Kernel Compilation

This guide is written to help beginners compile Linux kernel on Debian based systems easily.

1) The current Linux source code is available from the official home of the Linux kernel,

2) Extract the kernel source to /usr/src/ directory. The kernel tarball is distributed in tar.xz extension. After downloading the source, uncompressing and untarring it is simple. Run

tar -xvjf linux-x.y.z.tar.bz2

If it is compressed with GNU zip (xz extension), run

tar xf linux-x.y.z.tar.xz

This uncompresses and untars the source to the directory linux-x.y.z.

3) Install the necessary packages for compilation

apt-get install fakeroot libncurses5-dev kernel-package

4) Configure the kernel

make menuconfig

The next step is the building step. You can utilize all of your processor cores. For this, first find out the number of processor cores and tell make to use them

Number of processor cores can be found with



grep -c processor /proc/cpuinfo

After that these cores can be used for compiling by setting


Here I have set two since I have 2 cores. After this you can run make-kpkg command to run faster compilation.

make-kpkg --rootcmd fakeroot --initrd kernel_image kernel_headers

5) Install the kernel by executing the following commands

dpkg -i ../*.deb

After installing the kernel, GRUB entries in (/boot/grub/menu.lst) are automatically updated and next time we log in we could see the new Kernel in GRUB.