I am tasked with compiling a newer version of the Linux kernel that what is currently running on this CentOS 6.3 system. My instructions were to get a new kernel from kernel.org, but I was told that it didn't necessarily have to be the very latest stable kernel. I am going to have to work and code on this machine for the next year so I would prefer to have the latest version if possible. My question is this: If I have the choice between installing the 3.5.4 Linux kernel, or an older one say 2.6.32 should I expect more difficulty in getting the newest kernel to work correctly and reliably with CentOS? Or should I expect backwards compatibility in general, in which case I think it's worth it to try the newest kernel.
I have never compiled a linux kernel for a distribution and I do not know how big of a deal it will be if I mess up by trying to install a kernel that is not able to be supported by CentOS.