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For a default build, just run:
After done, you can collect the built image from under the deploy folder, for example: build/tmp/deploy/glibc/images/vmware/bzImage-vmware.bin.
Kernel image type
What kind of kernel image to build is controlled by the variable KERNEL_IMAGETYPE, which is normally defined in the machine config file. For example, build image for u-boot
KERNEL_IMAGETYPE = "uImage"
Select kernel version
The default .config file used is normally placed somewhere under recipes/linux named defconfig. You may want to search for it, say for vmware:
find recipes/linux -name "vmware*"
And you find it in:
Apply custom patches
If you need to customize the kernel configuration, you may run the menuconfig task by:
bitbake -c menuconfig virtual/kernel
Note: by default these command requires you to run in X Windows. If you want to work in text terminal only, here's a how to.
After that, you can compile the kernel by:
bitbake -f -c compile virtual/kernel
If you need more control over the configuration and compile process, add this somewhere into your local.conf:
INHERIT += "devshell"
and then you can go to the shell by:
bitbake -c devshell virtual/kernel
The build environment will be well setup for you; you can run regular make commands like make bzImage ...etc
Please note, that the INHERIT step depends on the distribution you're using, some of the distributions already include the INHERIT in their configuration, so it might work already. You can check that easily using listtask task.
Preserving the custom configuration
Changes are lost if you remove the tmpdir or do a "bitbake -c clean virtual/kernel", so you may consider replacing the defconfig with it.