I have downloaded the newest most stable Linux kernel,

I thought I would test this using VirtualBox. So I create a dynamically sized harddisk of 4 GB. And installed CentOS 5.3 with just the minimum packages.

I setup the make menuconfig with just the default settings.

After that I ran make and got the following error:

net/bluetooth/hci_sysfs.o: final close failed: No space left on device
make[2]: *** [net/bluetooth/hci_sysfs.o] Error 1
make[1]: *** [net/bluetooth] Error 2
make: *** [net] Error 2

The amount of space I have left is:

# df -h
Filesystem            Size  Used Avail Use% Mounted on
                      3.3G  3.3G     0 100% /
/dev/hda1              99M   12M   82M  13% /boot
tmpfs                 125M     0  125M   0% /dev/shm

My virtual size is 4 GB, but the actual size is 3.5 GB.

$ ls -hl
total 7.5G
-rw-------. 1 root root 3.5G 2010-04-13 14:08 LFS.vdi

How much size should I give when compiling and installing a Linux kernel? Are there any guidelines to follow when doing this? This is my first time, so just experimenting with this.


An april 2010 linux kernel is about 60MB bzip2 archive, which after unpacking and compiling takes about 400-500MB.

You can check your directory size with du -hs like:

/mnt/storage/linux-2.6.33$ du -hs                               
437M    .
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    Hello, if that is the case then why is all my disk space being used up. I have allocated a 4gb harddisk and only installed CentOS with only the development tools and libraries. Shouldn't take up that much disk space. When I installed CentSO I just setup 1 partition for root and nothing else. Any problem with that? – ant2009 Apr 13 '10 at 10:40
  • You can investigate what is eating your space with du -h --max-depth=1 run in your root directory (/). Take the biggest directory, go into it, repeat. Do this untill you find your disk hogs. – Ivan Petrushev Apr 15 '10 at 5:40
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    To list files in current dir sorted by size use ls -lhS, and to see top 10 biggest file in the current dir use ls -lhS|head -10. – Ivan Petrushev Apr 15 '10 at 5:41
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    The problem is with the space being used while compiling, not unpacking, methinks. – Nikana Reklawyks Jun 29 '13 at 7:52
  • Confirming, most space is used while compiling. – lethalman Sep 20 '13 at 12:59

Refer to this link >> https://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=2266609

I compiled/made linux kernel 4.0.0-rc1 on my HP Stream 13 (2GB RAM, dual core Intel Celeron N2840) based on the clear instruction on https://wiki.ubuntu.com/KernelTeam/GitKernelBuild, and this is my experience:

After the "git clone git://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/linux/kernel/git/torvalds/linux.git" the disk in use in the separate kernel directory: 1691 MB

During the make/compile, the disk space in use went up to 15674 MB. So: more than 15GB ...

Total compile time was: 299 minutes, or 5 hours. Quite long, probably caused by my slow CPU and slow disk.

  • Git is entirely different beast. You’d usually download a snapshot. The git respository contains the entire history of Kernel development. Also, compiling will never take that long when irrelevant options are deselected. – Daniel B Oct 15 '16 at 12:18

On my recent AMD64 build of 4.4.0-57 on Ubuntu 16.04, I needed about 14.5 GB of space for the build outputs.

That seems a a lot and it seems that is mostly transiently needed files (e.g., .o files resulting from compiling a .c file).


From Guide,

NOTE: If you do not have lot of disk space in /usr/src then you can unpack the kernel source package on any partition where you have free disk space (like /home). Because kernel compile needs lot of disk space for object files like *.o. For this reason the /usr/src/linux MUST be a soft link pointing to your source directory.

  • This answer also lacks the amount of free disk space (in GB) that is required to compile the kernel: 1.7GB neither 5.4GB aren't enough for building an amd64-3.11.0 kernel on Ubuntu 13.10. – Pro Backup Mar 12 '14 at 14:01

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