How long does it take to install kernel (linux 3.2.5) on 12.04 using make install -j 4 command?

My terminal is displaying this for around 40 minutes now.

root@user-desktop:/usr/src/linux-3.2.5# make install -j 4
sh /usr/src/linux-3.2.5/arch/x86/boot/install.sh 3.2.5 arch/x86/boot/bzImage \
        System.map "/boot"
run-parts: executing /etc/kernel/postinst.d/dkms 3.2.5 /boot/vmlinuz-3.2.5
  • 7
    A lot :) Linux kernel has a very big number of lines of code and it will take a lot to build unless you have a really powerful computer. My advice, go out for a few hours.
    – Aleksandar
    Sep 1, 2012 at 10:23
  • 2
    dhruva god! _/_ it took me 2 hrs! .. and you worried about 40 mins! and btw you need 4 cores/processors for -j 4 to work!
    – shiladitya
    Sep 2, 2012 at 11:03
  • While I tend not to use a higher -j number than the number of physical cores in the machine, there are actually various reasons why using a higher number may still provide better performance: Not all threads will always use 100% of the processor resources available to them (this is the main reason, and the basis for some recommendations that the -j number always be higher than the number of physical cores), the CPU may have hyperthreading so there are more logical processors than physical cores, and so forth. And -j 4 will at least run, even if you have fewer than 4 cores. Sep 2, 2012 at 12:11
  • 1
    This question is not answerable in a sane way in my opinion. This heavily depends on kernel configuration and system hardware. I've seen it ranging between 10 minutes and 6 hours.
    – gertvdijk
    Jan 17, 2013 at 9:07

4 Answers 4


It depends on the hardware especially the CPU. Here is a poll result which might help you to see. But, normally it is between 1-2 hours.

  • It's 2022, 10 years after the answer. Now it's below 4minutes for most of the PC at working.
    – spikeyang
    Aug 12, 2022 at 9:11

With a SSD and a Sandy Bridge clocked at 4 GHz on demand, it took ~ 8 mins with HT on and make -j14.


My first successful kernel compile was of the 3.2 kernel on a K8 Mobile Sempron 1.8 GHz with 512 MB of single-channel DDR and an ATA-100 5200 RPM hard disk included just about every module in mainline, because I didn't know what I was doing. It took 11 hours!

My most recent kernel, also 3.2, but now on a Pentium Dual Core T2370 with 2 GB dual-channel DDR2 and a SATA-3 SSD and all the unneeded modules turned off took 1 hour 48 minutes. It can vary a lot.

  • What kind of PC is this. My 2012 AMD A8-4500M laptop downclocked to 1.8GHZ and Turbo Core off took only 13 minutes to compile the latest 4.4 kernel.It is an HP Pavilion g7 2269wm with 6GB RAM and 500GB HDD
    – Suici Doga
    Jun 4, 2016 at 10:28
  • @SuiciDoga Maybe it was RAM factor.
    – Omar Tariq
    Dec 19, 2016 at 18:37

On a 64 CPU machine with lots of disks in RAID, ~5-8 minutes, with most of that being consumed in the final debian packaging step.

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