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LPI exam 102 prep: Kernel

Junior Level Administration (LPIC-1) topic 105

Ian Shields, Senior Programmer, IBM
Ian Shields
Ian Shields works on a multitude of Linux projects for the developerWorks Linux zone. He is a Senior Programmer at IBM at the Research Triangle Park, NC. He joined IBM in Canberra, Australia, as a Systems Engineer in 1973, and has since worked on communications systems and pervasive computing in Montreal, Canada, and RTP, NC. He has several patents. His undergraduate degree is in pure mathematics and philosophy from the Australian National University. He has an M.S. and Ph.D. in computer science from North Carolina State University. You can contact Ian at
(An IBM developerWorks Contributing Author)

Summary:  In this tutorial, Ian Shields begins preparing you to take the Linux Professional Institute® Junior Level Administration (LPIC-1) Exam 102. In this first in a series of nine tutorials, Ian introduces you to the kernel on Linux®. By the end of this tutorial, you will know how to build, install, and query a Linux kernel and its kernel modules.

View more content in this series

Date:  21 Mar 2006
Level:  Intermediate PDF:  A4 and Letter (416 KB | 22 pages)Get Adobe® Reader®

Activity:  31734 views

Before you start

Learn what these tutorials can teach you and how you can get the most from them.

About this series

The Linux Professional Institute (LPI) certifies Linux system administrators at two levels: junior level (also called "certification level 1") and intermediate level (also called "certification level 2"). To attain certification level 1, you must pass exams 101 and 102; to attain certification level 2, you must pass exams 201 and 202.

developerWorks offers tutorials to help you prepare for each of the four exams. Each exam covers several topics, and each topic has a corresponding self-study tutorial on developerWorks. For LPI exam 102, the nine topics and corresponding developerWorks tutorials are:

Table 1. LPI exam 102: Tutorials and topics
LPI exam 102 topicdeveloperWorks tutorialTutorial summary
Topic 105LPI exam 102 prep:
(This tutorial). Learn how to install and maintain Linux kernels and kernel modules. See detailed objectives below.
Topic 106 LPI exam 102 prep:
Boot, initialization, shutdown, and runlevels
Coming soon.
Topic 107 LPI exam 102 prep:
Coming soon.
Topic 108 LPI exam 102 prep:
Coming soon.
Topic 109 LPI exam 102 prep:
Shells, scripting, programming and compiling
Coming soon.
Topic 111 LPI exam 102 prep:
Administrative tasks
Coming soon.
Topic 112 LPI exam 102 prep:
Networking fundamentals
Coming soon.
Topic 113 LPI exam 102 prep:
Networking services
Coming soon.
Topic 114 LPI exam 102 prep:
Coming soon.

To pass exams 101 and 102 (and attain certification level 1), you should be able to:

  • Work at the Linux command line
  • Perform easy maintenance tasks: help out users, add users to a larger system, back up and restore, and shut down and reboot
  • Install and configure a workstation (including X) and connect it to a LAN, or connect a stand-alone PC via modem to the Internet

To continue preparing for certification level 1, see the developerWorks tutorials for LPI exams 101 and 102, as well as the entire set of developerWorks LPI tutorials.

The Linux Professional Institute does not endorse any third-party exam preparation material or techniques in particular. For details, please contact

About this tutorial

Welcome to "Kernel," the first of nine tutorials designed to prepare you for LPI exam 102. In this tutorial, you learn how to build, install, and query a Linux kernel and its kernel modules.

This tutorial is organized according to the LPI objectives for this topic. Very roughly, expect more questions on the exam for objectives with higher weight.

Table 2. Kernel: Exam objectives covered in this tutorial
LPI exam objectiveObjective weightObjective summary
Manage and query kernel and kernel modules at runtime
Weight 4Learn to query and manage a kernel and kernel-loadable modules.
Reconfigure, build, and install a custom kernel and kernel modules
Weight 3Learn to customize, build, and install a kernel and kernel-loadable modules from source.


To get the most from this tutorial, you should have a basic knowledge of Linux and a working Linux system on which to practice the commands covered in this tutorial.

This tutorial builds on content covered in previous tutorials in this LPI series, so you may want to first review the tutorials for exam 101. In particular, you should be very familiar with the material from LPI exam 101 prep:
Hardware and architecture

Different versions of a program may format output differently, so your results may not look exactly like the listings and figures in this tutorial.

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Zone=Linux, Open source
TutorialTitle=LPI exam 102 prep: Kernel