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The Linux kernel has many options and settings. To start, you should decide what you need and what you know you don't need. Secondly, find out what you have using the lspci, and lsusb commands. This will show you the name and model of your components. The Kernel configuration names are not always obvious, so these commands help you decipher the names.
- Creative Labs Sound Blaster PCI 128 is called
- (Creative) Ensoniq AudioPCI 1370
Things you usually need include second extended fs support and ext3 journaling file system support.
Things you usually don't need include I2O support, ISDN support, Amateur Radio support, and options related to hardware that you don't have.
There is a section on the HowTo Wiki which explains all the configuration options.
To learn how to compile the kernel see Howto compile the Linux Kernel on the HowTo Wiki.
This question was asked on The HowTo Wiki.