Appendix A: Helpful Utilities

Retrieving, building, updating, and maintaining a Linux kernel source tree involves a lot of different steps, as this book shows. Being naturally lazy creatures, developers have created some programs to help with the various routine tasks. Here we describe a few of these useful tools and the basics on how to use them.

Linux kernel development differs in many ways from traditional software development. Some of the special demands on kernel programmers include:

  • Constantly applying your changes to the moving target of a fast-based kernel development release schedule
  • Resolving any merge conflicts between changes you have made and changes made by other people
  • Exporting your changes in a format that lets others incorporate and work with it easily

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