Hi I am newbie to linux world. I have just downloaded the latest kernel from kernel.org. I want to install this simple kernel into my PC(my PC is formatted and has empty hdd). Can I do that? if so, how? I don't want to go to any existing linux brands. FYI, I have already tried various distros. Now, I want to see how simple kernel works and how to create own linux etc...


2 Answers 2


The kernel by itself isn't enough to have a meaningfully running system. Do you perhaps want to do something like Linux From Scratch?

  • 2
    +1 for Linux from Scratch which seems like a good option to fit OP's particular desire. Plus, LFS is a great learning experience! Oct 31, 2013 at 20:55

As pointed out by pilona, it is not possible ( with the standard kernel at least ) to only run the kernel and execute commands. There needs to be at least one userspace process ( as far as I understand ).

Linux From Scratch, as pointed out by ChrisInEdmonton is indeed a great learning experience, but I really wouldn't recommend it to a newbie.

What you might want to try is Archlinux or Gentoo. With both distributions you start with a simple base system and build upon it. Archlinux however, is much easier to begin with and has a really nice Wiki to Guide you through the whole installation and further. Gentoo gives you much more power, but it's also much more difficult to begin with and I also wouldn't suggest using it on a slow computer as first time user, because everything is compiled from the sources, which takes some time (It took me about a week until I had a working Gentoo with working Desktop and all applications I need).

While Archlinux and Gentoo are much easier to begin with (and much more practical) than Linux from Scratch, you still have to keep in mind that they aren't necessarily intended for people that are new to GNU/Linux, it really helps to have some basic understanding how a GNU/Linux system works (but you'll definitely know more about that once you managed to install one of those distros).

  • The kernel doesn't provide any "commands", unless you're talking about KGD or KGDBOC. Perhaps you were thinking of the busybox-provided 'recovery' shell in your initramfs?
    – pilona
    Sep 28, 2014 at 21:46
  • @pilona thought there was a way to build busybox into the kernel, but now that I think about it it doesn't really make sense to run a shell in kernelspace.
    – FSMaxB
    Oct 1, 2014 at 22:49
  • There's a way to add a CPIO image to the kernel to use as the initramfs, in an ELF section, .init.ramfs. Regardless of whether it makes sense or not, it's not possible to do what you were thinking of with a stock Linux, or any modified version of which I am aware.
    – pilona
    Oct 2, 2014 at 15:18

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