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Building the kernel myself

Hi list,

I am trying to build the linux kernel myself... it's one of the things I 
always wanted to do ;-) plus I submitted some bugerports against the kernel 
and would like to test the patches there were written to fix them.

I found tons of documentation on the net, but most of it is horribly outdated. 
Essentially there seem to be two methods:

a) installing kernel-package and then calling
make-kpkg --initrd kernel-image kernel-headers
in the source directory (I first forgot the --initrd, gave me quite a 
headache^^). That seems to work fine, however it's doing a lot of black magic. 
Also, each time I do this, it's touching the .config file resulting in a 
complete re-build even if just some files changed.

b) Using "make deb-pkg". This gives me two more debian packages than make-kpkg 
(with firmware and libc stuf), however both conflict or even replace existing 
packages so I just ignore them. I also used to get dkms errors here, for some 
reason these are gone now... whatever.
However, one problem remains: The linux-image package is *HUGE* (250MiB 
compared to 20MiB when I use make-kpkg) and takes a considerable amount of 
time to be created. The header-package is just 1MiB larger, I hardly care. The 
initrd in /boot however is also five times the size (almost 60 MiB), slowing 
down the boot quite noticeably.

I'd prefer to directly use "make deb-pkg" to have less black magic between me 
and what's actually happening (and to be able to apply small patches without a 
re-build). Is there anything I can do to make those files smaller? Obviously, 
make-kpgk does something different than I do.

Kind regards,

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