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Help compiling my kernel

I need some help compiling my kernel:

1) I would really rather not have to go through the config process - it is my
hope that I can use the standard .config file with a few modifications - in
particular, sound and APM enabled.  Can't I just use the standard .config
file, modify a few things via an editor, and use it to recompile my kernel?
If I do this, can I skip the make menuconfig step?

Further, I unpacked my kernel-source package, but it doesn't contain a .config
file, however it does contain .config.save.  Can I rename it to .config and
use it?

2) After I compile my kernel, say I decide to change a few things in the
source - is there a need to redo the make menuconfig step?  Or does that
strictly create the .config file?

3) I tried to make menuconfig, but got an error:

rm -f include/asm
( cd include ; ln -sf asm-i386 asm)
make -C scripts/lxdialog all
make[1]: Entering directory 'usr/src/kernel-source-2.0.34/scripts/lxdialog'
gcc -O2 -Wall -fomit-frame-pointer -DLOCALE  -DCURSES_LOC="<curses.h>"   -c 
lxdialog.c -o lxdialog.o
In file included from lxdialog.c:22:
dialog.h:29: curses.h: No such file or directory
make[1]: *** [lxdialog.o] Error 1
make[1]: Leaving directory `/usr/src/kernel-source-2.0.34/scripts/lxdialog'
make: *** [menuconfig] Error 2

I'm guessing I need something like ncurses<xxx>-dev, right?  How come this
isn't in the dependencies of kernel-package?

4) According to the README in /usr/src/linux, I should link as follows:

ln -s /usr/src/linux/include/asm-i386	/usr/include/asm	
ln -s /usr/src/linux/include/linux		/usr/include/linux	
ln -s /usr/src/linux/include/scsi		/usr/include/scsi

Problem is, I have libc6 installed, and it is installed in /usr/include.
Should I do the links as directed?  Or will the libc6 stuff work?

5) I seem to have three different versions of the header files.  Do I really
need them all?   I have:

libc6 			-> /usr/include
libc5-altdev		-> /usr/i486-linuxlibc1/include
linux source	-> /usr/src/include

6) The kernel-package docs say I need to run:

make-kpkg --rootcmd fakeroot <version>  

Do I need to do this if I compile as root?  I don't have fakeroot - do I need
it?  Will su work instead?

Thanks for any help..

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