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make-kpkg - build Debian kernel packages from Linux kernel sources


make-kpkg [options] [target [target ...]]


This manual page explains the Debian make-kpkg utility, which is used to create the kernel
related Debian packages. This utility needs to be run from a top level Linux kernel source
directory, which has been previously configured (unless you are using the configure
target). Normally, if kernel-package does not find a .config file in the current
directory, it tries very hard to get an appropriate one (usually a config file already
tailored for Debian kernels for that architecture), and then calls make oldconfig to let
the user answer any new questions. However, this might still result in an inappropriate
configuration, you are encouraged to configure the kernel by the usual means before
invoking make-kpkg.

Typically, make-kpkg should be run under fakeroot,

make-kpkg --rootcmd fakeroot kernel_image

but instead you run this command as root (this is not recommended), or under fakeroot, or
tell make-kpkg how to become root (not recommended either, fakeroot is perhaps the safest
option), like so:

make-kpkg --rootcmd sudo kernel_image

The Debian package file is created in the parent directory of the kernel source directory
where this command is run.

Also, please note that some versions of gcc do not interact well with the kernel source.
You may control which version of gcc used in kernel compilation by setting the Makefile
variables CC and HOSTCC in the top level kernel Makefile. You can do this simply by
setting the environment variable MAKEFLAGS. To observe, try:

% KBUILD_VERBOSE=1 MAKEFLAGS="CC=gcc-4.4" make-kpkg configure

Please note that the kernel Makefile might pay attention to other variables (for instance
KCFLAGS ). This can be addressed like so:

% KBUILD_VERBOSE=1 MAKEFLAGS='CC=gcc-4.4 KCFLAGS="-march=athlon64"' make-kpkg configure

The KBUILD_VERBOSE shows the details of the commands being run. (please see the top level
kernel Makefile for variables that can be set).

WARNING: Do NOT set the -j option in MAKEFLAGS directly, this shall cause the build to
fail. Use CONCURRENCY_LEVEL as specified below. There is also a -j flag that can be used.


--help Print out a usage message.

--revision number
Changes the version number for the packages produced to the argument number. This
has certain constraints: the version must start with a digit. the version may
contain only alphanumerics and the characters ~ + . (tilde, full stop and plus) and
must contain a digit. (Look at the Policy manual for details). Optionally, you may
prepend the revision with a digit followed by a colon (:). The default is
10.00.Custom unless the environment variable DEBIAN_REVISION_MANDATORY is set, in
which case an error is generated if the revision is not set on the command line or
the configuration file. Hint: You may set it to $(version)-<foo> in the
configuration file to get the upstream version number prepended to your custom
string <foo>.

--append-to-version foo

--append_to_version foo
This argument (foo) is appended to the value of the EXTRAVERSION variable present
in the kernel Makefile. Since EXTRAVERSION is a component of the kernel version, it
is also added to the Debian package name, and, as such must obey the policy
governing the package name. That means it may contain only lowercase alphanumerics
and the characters ~ - + . (tilde, full stop, hyphen, and plus). Uppercase letters
are not permitted under the Policy for a new package. If the environment variable
IGNORE_UPPERCASE_VERSION is set, make-kpkg shall lower case version numbers set in
the Makefile or in the localversion file. This option overrides the environment

--added-modules foo

--added_modules foo
The argument should be a comma separated list of additional add-on modules (not in
the main kernel tree) that you wish to build when you invoke the modules_blah
targets. You may give full path names of the directory the modules reside in, or
just the module name if it can be found in MODULE_LOC, which defaults to
/usr/src/modules. The default is that all modules in MODULE_LOC, are compiled when
the modules_blah targets are invoked.

--arch foo
This is useful for setting the architecture when you are cross compiling. If you
are not cross compiling, the architecture is determined automatically. The same
effect can be achieved by setting the environment variable KPKG_ARCH. The value
should be whatever DEB_HOST_ARCH_CPU contains when dpkg-architecture is run on the
target machine, or it can be another architecture in a multi-arch set (like

--cross-compile foo

--cross_compile foo
This is useful for setting the target string when you are cross compiling. Use the
dummy target "-" if you are building for other arches of a multiarch set, like
i386/amd64. The same effect can be achieved by setting the environment variable.
Please note that this does not in any way set the compiler the kernel build process
shall use; if the default compiler that the build process comes up with is not the
one desired, please explicitly specify the compiler that should be used.

--subarch foo
Some architectures (the Alpha, and the m68k) require a different kernel for each
sub-architecture. This option provides a way of specifying it as an argument to
make-kpkg. Please note that additional support for sub-architectures may be
required in the kernel sources to actually make this do anything. The same effect
can be achieved by setting the environment variable KPKG_SUBARCH.


This option uses an extended name for the kernel image package by embedding the
sub-architecture in the image name, so one could write a script to create multiple
sub-architectures one after the other. You may also do this by setting the
environment variable ARCH_IN_NAME. Please note that only the package name is
affected, not modules locations etc.

--pgpsign name
Set the string used to sign the changes file for any external modules in
/usr/src/modules/ using PGP. This option will override the builtin default and the
site wide customizations stored in the file /etc/kernel-pkg.conf or

--config target
Change the type of configure done from the default oldconfig. target must be one
of oldconfig, config, menuconfig, gconfig, nconfig, xconfig, randconfig, defconfig,
allmodconfig, allyesconfig, allnoconfig, old, menu, g, or x.

Note however that make-kpkg scans the config file at start up for some options,
notably the fact that modules are enabled or not, so toggling the status during the
delayed configuration results in an error. If needed, create the configuration file
as close to the desired one before calling make-kpkg with this switch.

Prints out a list of known targets. See the Section Targets below.

Pass a -n option to the make process so that commands are merely printed to the
screen but not actually executed. This is very useful for debugging.

This calls make with the -V=1 option, which calls out the top level Make commands,
also useful in seeing what is happening.

If make-kpkg is generating a kernel-image package, arrange to convey to the hook
scripts run from the post installation maintainer scripts that this image requires
an initrd, and that the initrd generation hook scripts should not short circuit
early. Without this option, the example initramfs hook scripts bundled in with
kernel-package will take no action on installation. The same effect can be
achieved by setting the environment variable INITRD to any non empty value. Please
note that unless there are hook scripts in /etc/kernel or added into the hook
script parameter of /etc/kernel-img.conf, no initrd will be created (the bundled in
example scripts are just examples -- user action is required before anything
happens). On most systems, however initramfs-tools installs scripts (since version
0.94 (and they have respected the INITRD variable since 0.98)). dracut also does

--jobs number

-j number
Set the environment variable CONCURRENCY_LEVEL to number.

--overlay-dir /path/to/directory
The specified directory should contain files that will be placed in the ./debian
directory of the kernel sources, in preparation to building the debian packages.
The files will replace anything in /usr/share/kernel-package that would normally be
placed there, and it is up to the user to make sure that the files in the overlay
directory are compatible with make-kpkg. If you break make-kpkg with an overlay
file, you get to keep the pieces. The same effect can be achieved by setting the
environment variable KPKG_OVERLAY_DIR.

Please note that overlay-dir/Control and overlay-dir/changelog are special, and
variable substitution is performed on these files. Use
/usr/share/kernel-package/Control and /usr/share/kernel-package/changelog files as

If a overlay-dir/post-install executable (or executable script) exists, it shall be
run immediately after ./debian is populated. The script shall be executed in the
./debian directory. This can be used, for instance, to delete files the user does
not want, or to take actions other than simple replacement.

--rootcmd foo
The command that provides a means of gaining super user access (for example, `sudo'
or `fakeroot') as needed by dpkg-buildpackage's -r option. This option does not
work for three of the targets, namely, binary, binary-indep, and binary-arch. For
those targets the entire make-kpkg command must be run as (fake)root.

--stem foo
Call the packages foo-* instead of kernel-*. This is useful in helping transition
from calling the packages kernel-* to linux-* packages, in preparation for
non-linux kernels in the distribution. The default is linux. The stem, since it is
the initial part of a package name must consist only of lower case letters (`a-z'),
digits (`0-9'), plus (`+') and minus (`-') signs, and periods (`.'). It must be at
least two characters long and must start with an alphanumeric character.

--us This option is passed to dpkg-buildpackage, and directs that package not to sign
the source. This is only relevant for the buildpackage target.

--uc This option is passed to dpkg-buildpackage, and directs that package not to sign
the changelog. This is only relevant for the buildpackage target.

The options maybe shortened to the smallest unique string, and may be entered with either
a - or a -- prefix, and you may use a space or an = symbol between an option string and a
value. You may also use the form option=value; for details these and other variant forms
supported, please read Getopt::Long(3perl).

If defined, this environment variable sets the concurrency level of make used to
compile the kernel and the modules set using -j flags to the sub make in the build
target of make-kpkg. Should be a (small) integer, if used. You can get the current
number of CPUs using the command:

grep -c '^processor' /proc/cpuinfo

WARNING: Do NOT set the -j option in MAKEFLAGS directly, this shall call the build
to fail. It is possible to set -j as a make-kpkg argument.


clean Cleans the kernel source directory of all files created by target build, and runs a
make distclean. (Please look at a Linux kernel Makefile for details). Please note
that although we take care of the list of current kernel configuration contained in
the file .config, the file include/linux/autoconf.h is not preserved. This target
should not be combined with other targets, since make-kpkg reads in all data before
running any target, so the subsequent targets shall be run with the old data, which
may not be what you want. Please note that by default the clean target is not run
as root, whic works fine of the command fakeroot was used. However, if previously
the build was done using sudo, you need to run make-kpkgclean also under sudo.

This target runs the targets clean, and binary, and produces the complete package
using dpkg-buildpackage.

binary This target produces all four Debian kernel packages by running the targets
binary-indep and binary-arch. However, this requires make-kpkg to be run as root
(or fakeroot), since --rootcmd will not work.

This target produces the arch independent packages by running the targets
kernel_source, kernel_manual and kernel_doc. However, this also requires make-kpkg
to be run as root (or fakeroot), since --rootcmd will not work.

This target produces the arch dependent packages by running the targets
kernel_headers and kernel_image. However, this also requires make-kpkg to be run
as root (or fakeroot), since --rootcmd will not work.

This target produces a debianised package of the Linux kernel sources. If the
environment variable SOURCE_CLEAN_HOOK points to an executable, then that
executable shall be run from the temporary (top) directory of the kernel sources
just before packaging it, ./debian/tmp-source/usr/src/kernel-source-X.X.XX, so
people may take any action they see fit (remove arch trees, prune version control
directories, find . -type d -name CVS -prune -exec rm -rf {} ; etc.). This has no
effect on anything other than the kernel sources that are being packaged -- if the
script operates on the current directory and its children, the original source tree
should remain intact. The environment variables HEADER_CLEAN_HOOK and
DOC_CLEAN_HOOK are similar. They should point to executables, then that executable
shall be run from the temporary (top) directory of the kernel headers and
documentation just before packaging respectively, so people may take any action
they see fit. This also has no effect on anything other than the sources that are
being packaged.

This target produces a Debian package containing the debugging symbols for the
modules contained in the corresponding image package. The basic idea here is to
keep the space in /lib/modules/<kver> under control, since this could be on a root
partition with space restrictions. Please note that if module signatures are enable
in the kernel configuration the corresponding image package will not have modules
with the debugging link pointing to these debugging symbol files. In order to turn
on debugging links for modules in the image package you need to turn off module

This target produces a Debian package containing the header files included in the
Linux kernel.

This target produces a Debian package containing the section 9 manual pages
included in the Linux kernel. Please note that this is not really an independent
target; calling this shall also invoke the kernel_doc target, and creates a
kernel-doc package at the same time.

This target produces a Debian package containing the documentation included in the
Linux kernel. This can be called independently of the kernel_manual target, but not
the other way around.

This target produces a Debian package of the Linux kernel source image, and any
modules configured in the kernel configuration file .config. If there is no
.config file in the kernel source directory, a default configuration is provided
similar to the one used to create the Debian boot-floppies. If the kernel
configuration file has enabled support for modules, modules will be created and
installed. If module signatures are not enabled, the resulting modules will have a
link to the location of the debugging symbols file for the module, usually
installed by the debug package.

If the file ./debian/post-install exists, and is an executable, it is run just
before the kernel image package is created. Also, please note that if there are
any scripts in ./debian/image.d/ directory, run-parts shall be called on that
directory just before the kernel image package is built. The location of the root
of the image package being built shall be passed in the environment variable
IMAGE_TOP, and the kernel version is passed in through the environment variable
version for all these scripts.

Please see the documentation about hooks in kernel-img.conf(5). These hooks are
variables that can be pointed by the local sysadmin to scripts that add or remove a
line from the grub menu list at kernel image install and remove times. A sample
script to add lines to a grub menu file is included in the directory

Apart from hook variables that the local admin may set, there are a set of
directories where packages, or the local admin, may drop in script files. The
directories are /etc/kernel/preinst.d/, /etc/kernel/postinst.d/,
/etc/kernel/prerm.d/, /etc/kernel/postrm.d/, /etc/kernel/preinst.d/<VERSION>/,
/etc/kernel/postinst.d/<VERSION>/, /etc/kernel/prerm.d/<VERSION>/, and
/etc/kernel/postrm.d/<VERSION>/. If they exists, the kernel-image package shall
run a run-parts program over the directory (including the versioned one), giving
the version being installed or removed as an argument, in the corresponding phase
of installation or removal. Before calling these scripts, the env variable STEM
shall be set to the value of the --stem argument (or the default value, linux), and
the variable KERNEL_PACKAGE_VERSION shall be set to the version of the
kernel-package that created the package. These scripts shall be called with two
arguments, the first being the version of the kernel image, and the second argument
being the location of the kernel image itself. Since debconf is in use before the
script is called, this script should issue no diagnostic messages to stdout --
while the postinst does call db_stop, debconf does not restore stdout, so messages
to stdout disappear.

On installation, it also offers to run the Linux loader, LILO (or alternates like
loadlin, SILO, QUIK, VMELILO, ZIPL, yaboot, PALO or GRUB), creating a configuration
file for supported boot loaders if needed. At that time it also offers to put the
new kernel on a floppy, formatting the floppy if needed. On deletion, the package
checks the version of the kernel running, and refuses to delete a running kernel.
grub rates a special mention here, since grub may not need to be rerun after
installing a kernel image, though an automated change to the menu list would be
nice on install and removal of kernel image packages.

build This target, used by target kernel_image above, compiles the Linux kernel image.

This target allows you to build all add-on modules and packages that are very
dependent on the precise kernel version they are compiled for at the same time you
build your kernel image. This target expects to find the modules or packages under
/usr/src/modules, and, for all such directories, changes to MODULE_LOC/x
(MODULE_LOC defaults to /usr/src/modules), and runs the kdist rule in the local
debian.rules file. This target should create the Debian module package(s), and may
also produce a compressed tar file, and a compressed diff file, with md5sums
recorded in a changes file using dpkg-genchanges. The file is signed by the same
identity that would be used to sign the kernel packages. This option is used by
maintainers uploading the package to the Debian archives.

This target allows you to configure all packages under MODULE_LOC, which defaults
to /usr/src/modules. This is useful if you need to manually modify some aspects of
the configuration, or if you want to manually compile the add on modules. This
should not be called unless you already have a ./debian directory.

This target allows you to build all packages under MODULE_LOC, which defaults to
/usr/src/modules, but does not create the source or diff files, and does not create
and sign a changes file. This is the only modules related option you need if you
just want to compile the add on modules image files for installation on one or more
machines. Generally called in conjunction with kernel_image, especially if also
using the option append_to_version (prevents spurious warnings). This should not
be called unless you already have a ./debian directory.

This target allows you to clean all packages under MODULE_LOC, which defaults to
/usr/src/modules, and this should be all that is needed to undo the effect of any
of the other modules_ targets. This should not be called unless you already have a
./debian directory.

This target runs configure (actually, config_target, set by --config which defaults
to oldconfig) early, so you may edit files generated by make config in the kernel
source directory and not have them stomped by make-kpkg later.

debian This target creates the ./debian directory, and optionally patches the source. This
target is called by the configure target. You may use this target to have the
sources patched, and then manually run the configuration step to update the
configuration file, with any new configuration options the patches may have

This is a special target for the libc-dev maintainer, who can use it to create the
headers package that libc needs. Please note that it is dangerous to create a
libc-kheaders package that is different from the headers libc was compiled with; it
is known to subtly break systems. Please look at
/usr/share/kernel-package/README.headers for details. Creating and installing a
self created libc-kheaders package may break your system unless you know what you
are doing. You have been warned.


KPKG_DEBUG, if set, causes make-kpkg to spit out debugging messages about some shell
functions executed internally. This is probably of not interest to anyone not debugging
make-kpkg. The following variables (documented above) also affect make-kpkg:

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