Configuring a kernel for a laptop

I’m testing Fedora Core 4 on my laptop. Basically installing it, playing around with GNOME and KDE, and the different applications that it has. I have already burnt a DVD+R (another copy of FC4 for a friend) without a problem with K3b (K3b rules! B-)). Eclipse comes on the installation DVD, and I installed it, only to find out that it’s a natively-compiled version of Eclipse. What this really means, I’m not sure, but so far I’ve had problems getting the subclipse plug-in to work (It complains about not finding javahl libraries).

One of the first things I usually do with a new Linux installation is try to make a custom kernel, enabling all the hardware features relevant to the machine I’m using, and disabling the rest (or making them modules). It got me thinking, though, with many major computer maker companies offering Linux solutions or at least interested in supporting the Linux movement, why can’t they at least offer custom kernels for their different products? Who better than them to know what hardware a desktop or laptop has, and how to better tweak the kernel for performance and stability? And if compiling a kernel package is too much (because of the many different distributions and package formats), why can’t they at least offer custom .config files?

Also, Why isn’t there a .config repository? TuxMobil offers articles from many different sources discussing Linux installations on different laptops, but the information is usually very specific to the laptop user requirements, usually with incomplete hardware support, does not follow a standard, and many times the links are no longer available. It would be nice to have a repository where you could, for example, search for a specific kernel configuration file (say, 2.6.12) for a specific desktop/laptop model (say, HP zt3000).

How ‘portable’ is a kernel configuration file? Is this a feasible thing?

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