What is "generic" kernel? Why does module-assistant work?

Florian Diesch diesch at spamfence.net
Tue May 27 01:43:58 UTC 2008

"Paul Johnson" <pauljohn32 at gmail.com> wrote:

> I'm new in Ubuntu, coming from RedHat/Fedora.
> I encountered some weirdness after I installed the openafs client
> program.  I noticed in the logs from apt that a kernel module had to
> be built for that program and I followed some steps it mapped out.
> module-assistant prepare openafs-modules
> module-assistant auto-build openafs-modules
> Seemed to work OK--plopped some deb packages into /usr/src.  It is a
> bit too automagical for my taste, though.

It's made for Joe User to be able to create kernel module packages.

> I don't understand why it worked, and I feel a bit "out of control".

It's a Perl script so you may just have a look at it (if you know some

> Maybe all those years of building RPMs damaged my brain.  I'm looking
> to understand the debian build framework.  In RPM framework, there
> would be a designated directory structure with subdirectories for the
> SOURCE code, the BUILD, the SPEC (equivalent to control file & pre  &
> post scripts), and results would go into RPM and SRPM.
> 1. Why can't the "ordinary" user build the deb?  It should not be
> necessary to be root!  Fedora guys say that's bad :(

module-assistant needs write permission to /usr/src so you need to
be root or member of the src group or define another directory using -u

> 2. Why it doesn't make a source package?

It takes a source package and creates a binary package

> 3. Where can I find the control file from which the deb was
> manufactured?


> 4. Should I find a build tree and a fakeroot directory and erase them
> to clean up after the build?

 "module-assistant clean openafs-modules" does it for you

> While Googling on that,  I found a more puzzling question.  I ran the
> basic Ubuntu install.  I have linux-image-generic.  Is that right?


> In Fedora, there's a kernel for i386, and one for i686, and one for
> x86_64, etc.  In Ubuntu I don't see one especially for i686.

The Ubuntu kernel team benchmarked processor optimized kernels AFAIR
about a year ago and found that it usually doesn't get you much so they
dropped optimized kernels. You should find more about that in the
ubuntu-devel mailing list archive.

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