Minimalism is not just a lifestyle choice, it’s a philosophy of life. It’s about simplifying your existence, reducing your distractions, and focusing on what matters most. Minimalism is also about optimizing your performance, enhancing your security, and maximizing your efficiency.
But how do you apply minimalism to your Gentoo kernel? How do you declutter your kernel from all the unnecessary modules, drivers, features, and options that are cluttering your system, slowing your boot time, and wasting your resources?
In this article, we will show you how to declutter your Gentoo kernel using some simple and effective steps. We will also show you how to make your kernel more minimal, more customized, and more awesome.
Step 1: Choose Your Kernel Sources
The first step to declutter your Gentoo kernel is to choose the right kernel sources for your system. There are many kernel sources available in the Gentoo repository, but not all of them are suitable for minimalism.
Some kernel sources are too bloated, too generic, or too unstable for minimalism. They contain many features and options that you don’t need or want, and they may cause problems or conflicts with your hardware or software.
The best kernel sources for minimalism are the ones that are lean, specific, and stable. They contain only the features and options that you need or want, and they work well with your hardware and software.
Some examples of minimal kernel sources are:
- gentoo-sources: The official Gentoo kernel sources with patches and fixes from the Gentoo developers. They are stable, secure, and optimized for performance.
- ck-sources: The Con Kolivas kernel sources with patches and tweaks for desktop responsiveness and interactivity. They are fast, smooth, and responsive.
- zen-sources: The Zen Kernel sources with patches and enhancements for performance, security, and usability. They are powerful, secure, and user-friendly.
To choose your kernel sources, use the emerge command with the –ask option:
emerge --ask sys-kernel/gentoo-sources
Replace gentoo-sources with the name of the kernel sources you want to install.
Step 2: Configure Your Kernel Options
The second step to declutter your Gentoo kernel is to configure your kernel options using the make menuconfig command:
This will launch a graphical interface that allows you to select or deselect various kernel options. You can use the arrow keys to navigate the menu, the space bar to toggle an option on or off, and the enter key to enter a submenu or save your changes.
The goal of this step is to remove any kernel option that you don’t need or want. This will make your kernel smaller, faster, and more secure.
But how do you know which kernel option you need or want? There are several ways to find out:
- Read the help text for each option by pressing the ? key. This will give you a brief description of what the option does and why you may need it.
- Use the lspci command to list your hardware devices and their drivers. This will help you identify which drivers you need to enable in your kernel.
- Use the lsmod command to list your loaded modules and their dependencies. This will help you identify which modules you need to enable in your kernel.
- Use the genkernel command with the –menuconfig option to generate a default kernel configuration based on your hardware detection. This will give you a starting point for customizing your kernel options.
- Use the make localmodconfig command to generate a minimal kernel configuration based on your loaded modules. This will give you a very minimal kernel configuration that only includes the modules you are currently using.
To declutter your Gentoo kernel effectively, you should follow these general guidelines:
- Disable any option that is marked as experimental or obsolete. These options are either unstable or outdated and may cause problems or conflicts with your system.
- Disable any option that is marked as optional or modular. These options are either not essential or can be loaded as modules when needed. Modules are small pieces of code that can be loaded or unloaded dynamically by the kernel without requiring a reboot.
- Disable any option that is related to hardware or features that you don’t have or use. These options are unnecessary and may waste resources or cause errors on your system.
- Enable any option that is marked as mandatory or built-in. These options are essential for the kernel to function properly and cannot be loaded as modules. They are usually related to the core functionality of the kernel or the basic support for your hardware.
- Enable any option that is related to hardware or features that you have or use. These options are necessary and may improve the performance or functionality of your system.
- Enable any option that is related to security or optimization. These options may enhance the security or efficiency of your kernel and your system.
To declutter your Gentoo kernel effectively, you should also follow these specific tips:
- Disable any option that is related to debugging or tracing. These options are only useful for developers or testers who want to debug or trace the kernel behavior. They may slow down your kernel or introduce bugs or vulnerabilities.
- Disable any option that is related to virtualization or emulation. These options are only useful for users who want to run virtual machines or emulate other systems on their system. They may consume a lot of resources or cause compatibility issues.
- Disable any option that is related to file systems or network protocols that you don’t use. These options are only useful for users who want to access different types of file systems or network protocols on their system. They may take up a lot of space or cause conflicts.
- Enable any option that is related to power management or CPU frequency scaling. These options are useful for users who want to save energy or adjust the CPU speed according to the workload. They may extend the battery life or improve the responsiveness of your system.
- Enable any option that is related to encryption or compression. These options are useful for users who want to encrypt or compress their data or traffic. They may increase the security or reduce the bandwidth usage of your system.
Step 3: Compile and Install Your Kernel
The third and final step to declutter your Gentoo kernel is to compile and install your kernel using the make and make install commands:
This will compile your kernel according to your configuration and install it in the /boot directory. You may also need to install the modules using the make modules_install command:
This will install the modules in the /lib/modules directory.
You may also need to update your bootloader configuration to point to your new kernel. This depends on which bootloader you are using and how you have configured it. For example, if you are using GRUB, you can use the grub-mkconfig command to generate a new configuration file:
grub-mkconfig -o /boot/grub/grub.cfg
This will create a new configuration file in the /boot/grub directory based on your installed kernels.
Congratulations! You have successfully decluttered your Gentoo kernel using minimalism. You have removed all the unnecessary options and features from your kernel and made it more minimal, customized, and awesome. You should now enjoy a faster, smoother, and more secure system with a decluttered Gentoo kernel.
Thank you for reading this article. I hope you found it helpful and entertaining. If you have any questions, comments, or feedback, please feel free to leave them below.
Happy decluttering! 🧹