PATCH [0/3]: Simplify the kernel build by removing perl.

From: Rob Landley
Date: Fri Jan 02 2009 - 03:07:54 EST

Before 2.6.25 (specifically git bdc807871d58285737d50dc6163d0feb72cb0dc2 )
building a Linux kernel never required perl to be installed on the build
system. (Various development and debugging scripts were written in perl and
python and such, but they weren't involved in actually building a kernel.)
Building a kernel before 2.6.25 could be done with a minimal system built from
gcc, binutils, bash, make, busybox, uClibc, and the Linux kernel, and nothing
else. (Embedded developers creating clean cross compile environments that
won't leak bits of the host system into the target, or bootstrapping native
development environments to run on target hardware or under emulators, tend to
care about this sort of thing.)

The perl checkin for 2.6.25 was the camel's nose under the tent flap, and
since then two more instances of perl have shown up in the core kernel build.
This patch series removes the three required to build a basic kernel for qemu
for the targets I've tested (arm, mips, powerpc, sparc, m68k, sh4, and of
course x86 and x86-64), replacing them with shell scripts.

Historically the kernel has gone out of its way to minimize environmental
dependencies for the build. For example, the plethora of *_shipped files mean
we don't need lex and yacc to build the kernel. The kconfig infrastructure
once required curses to run "make oldconfig", but that requirement was
restricted to just menuconfig so the kernel could build on systems without

That was a very nice policy. Kernel development already requires an in-depth
knowledge of C, make, and shell, plus things like the kconfig language. A
similarly in-depth knowledge of perl is bigger than all that combined (even
Larry Wall probably doesn't know all of Perl anymore), and then what's the
excuse _not_ to add Python to the core build? And after that why not java, or
lua? Where does it end? What's the criteria to say "no" here?

This patch series saves time and says no now.
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