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Need to load a specific Linux kernel onto a laptop

I need to load a specific Linux kernel onto a laptop that currently has XP Home loaded.

I'm a Linux noob and was hoping EE could help me in this process.

Do I need to have a version of Linux already installed, or can I load the whole OS from the files available here - http://www.kernel.org/pub/linux/kernel/v2.6/?

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1 Solution
First you need to install any one Linux os.

than uptdate the kernel
howardsd1Author Commented:
Cam you point me in the direction of a good, free version to install?

Also,.what if the OS version I install has a newer kernel version?  Is it OK to install an older kernel?

What is the process of loading a new kernel after the OS is installed?

If you have resources that explain this, I'm more than willing to review rather than having you explain everything.
"I need to load a specific Linux kernel..."
What specific kernel you need precisely and why? Is there any linux kernel module ( device driver in MS verbiage) specifically which you  need for , maybe, your wireless network device or power management on your laptop?
What Laptop brand/model do you have? Techincal specifications might help us determine which Linux distrbution would be best fit for your laptop.
Generally speaking most modern Linux distributions are more than capable of correctly detecting modwern
hardware found in most recent laptop computers so , basically, you don't have to worry about that.
I would start with an excellent PCLinuxOS 2007 ( http://www.pclinuxos.com ) which is most user-friendly has great hardware detection and great selection of easy to install application software packages via synaptic installer front-end. It's disgtributed on single install Live CD and you can install it to hard-disk.
Mandriva Linux ( just released version 2008 ) might be good choice too and so far I can find only positive reviews all over the Internet. It comes in CD and DVD versions.
Very good and renowned by good support for laptop computers is OpenSUSE/Novell SUSE Linux 10.3
There's also Ubuntu Linux 7.04 ( Ubunut 7.10 release is scheduled for October 18 if you decide to wait for newer version) which is wildly popular distribution among newbies. I'm not big Ubuntu fan but have great respect for project sponsored  by Canonical a South African software company .
Q-Do I need to have a version of Linux already installed, or can I load the whole OS from the files available here"
A- It all depends on what particular feature you need integrated in your kernel and , as I said before, if
you cantell us exactly what is that we may help better.
  All above mentioned distributions offer several different kernels ( for different architectures/CPU e.g. Intel i386,i586 , AMD , ARM, SPARC etc. as well as 32 and 64 bit kernels).
 If none of  so called stock kernels suit your needs you can compile your own kernel from kernel sources file
and that's possible to do on all Linux distributions but you need to prepare yourself for great learning proces which might be certainly time consuming.

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howardsd1Author Commented:
>What specific kernel you need precisely and why?  

I need to load kernel  I'm setting up a development laptop for a developer we're hiring to update one of our vendor's drivers.  The driver hasn't functioned since kernel 2.6.14-7.  I'm being told that changes in the pcmcia stack are forcing the driver update.

I've not heard anything of the contrary, so I have to assume this is for a i386, 32 bit kernel

The laptop is a Toshiba Satellite a45-S121.  As Toshiba has zero support or specs for this model, this is the best link I could find to show its specs - http://www.amazon.com/Toshiba-A45-S121-Notebook-Celeron-Drive/dp/B0001OOVRI.


PCLinuxOS 2007 Linux currently has kernel  as well as Debian Etch.
Ubuntu had exact kernel version number 2.6.17 in its release 6.10 ( Edgy Eft) and is now at 2.6.22 version.
Mandriva Linux had exact kernel version number ( 2.6.17) in their two releases 2007 and 2007.1
Fedora 7 Linux comes with kernel 2.6.18
and so on.

For detailed informations about kernel as well as other package versions that use to come with a specific distro
you might wish to spend some time browsing Distrowatch.com archves :
Major Linux distributions overview:
Regardless of what Linux distribution you chose ( Fedora,Debian,PCLinuxOS and so on) they all had decent support for PCMCIA devices with their kernel 2.4 releases .
UNFORTUNATELY Linux pcmcia-cs package is officially deprecated. It can only be used with 2.4 and older kernels. ( http://pcmcia-cs.sourceforge.net/ )
SO , yes, I agree it would be best way to go safe route like:
find Linux distribution with original stock kernel version 2.6.17  ( and presumably good support for pcmcia ) in case you have to recompile kernel to include pcmcia driver kernel module ( if in-line module is missing).
With that in mind you should look for Mandriva 2004.1 and or Ubuntu 6.10 Linux.
It's hard to answer with great certainty which Linux distribution to select .
Generally speaking you should still have good development platform with both Mandriva 2007.1 and Ubuntu 6.10 ( very good support for programming languages, scripting , HTML etc.)  but all other packages and applications wouldn't be "latyest and greatest"  in Linux-world.
I'm afraid you will have to experiment a little.


howardsd1Author Commented:
The customer that we're doing this work for referenced this page for the specific kernel distribution - http://www.kernel.org/pub/linux/kernel/v2.6/.

How will this relate to the different Linux distributions you referenced two posts ago?  Will I install Ubuntu 6.10 Linux and then update the kernel from the location I just referenced?
You just download and install any new version of linux

Fedora 7 has 2.6.22

and after installing the os you just run

yum update kernel  to update the kernel to latest avail version.
howardsd1Author Commented:
>and after installing the os you just run

>yum update kernel  to update the kernel to latest avail version.

The customer has said it HAS to work on 2.6.21-7.  

Do you not see an issue in doing the driver development on the latest kernel rather than the version they've stated?
howardsd1Author Commented:
Found this tutorial on upgrading the ubuntu kernel.  http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=56835

nedvis, thanks for the ubuntu 6.10 edgy recommendation.

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