Hello I want to access the menuconfig of the raspberry pi os lite, but I had this error

root@raspberrypi:/# make menuconfig 
make: *** No rule to make target 'menuconfig'.  Stop.

I want to see the configuration of this os is it possible ? or does and a config file exists? under which directory can I found something like that

actually I am working on creating an os with buildroot and the menuconfig is a litle bit scary for me so I wanted to check the configuration of the raspberry pi os lite to know which modules and dependencies are necessary. if anyone could help it would be great

  • 1
    sudo modprobe configs; zcat /proc/config.gz > /tmp/kernel.config; cat /tmp/kernel.config
    – Dougie
    Commented Dec 23, 2020 at 15:33
  • You should really run man make and read that page. Commented Dec 28, 2020 at 12:10
  • 1
    @DmitryGrigoryev I just read it, so I presume that the source code of this os and the Makefiles are not available on my sdcard but in the host machine where it was developed ? so doing a make menuconfig has no meaning?
    – mina
    Commented Dec 28, 2020 at 12:24

2 Answers 2


If you just want to get the configuration of your Pi's kernel, and you plan to do development elsewhere, run sudo modprobe configs; zcat /proc/config.gz > .config, and then copy the .config file to your development folder.

If you plan to do development on the Pi, install the kernel source tree, e.g. with git clone --depth=1 https://github.com/raspberrypi/linux. This will create a folder called linux inside the current directory, and the Makefile you need to run make menuconfig will be inside that linux folder. You don't have to configure everything manually, there are make bcmrpi_defconfig / make bcm2709_defconfig / make bcm2711_defconfig commands which create a default kernel configuration for Pi1 / Pi 2 and 3 / Pi 4, respectively.

Make sure you have good Internet connection and several GB of free space on your SD card before you start, the kernel is quite a big project.

Also, read about git: if you want to explore different kernel configurations, you'll have to pick the right branch of the repository with git checkout branch_name. The default kernel branch seems to be rpi-5.4.y at the time of writing.

  • Thank you for clarifying ! but I am trying to create a specific kernel I am don't intend to work with the default configuration, actually I am a little bit lost I need to cross compile Qt on an os which has no desktop version no server x ... it will be for an industrial project and will be implemented on raspberry pi 4 , In the beginning I tried to build a kernel following the official documentation of raspberry and it didin't work for me I couldn't mount the image raspberrypi.stackexchange.com/questions/118498/…
    – mina
    Commented Dec 31, 2020 at 8:30
  • after that I worked on the raspberry pi os lite and cross compiled Qt.. it worked but not perfectly because with my configuration I couldn't enable eglfs for raspberry .. and know I am finding a way to create my os and configure it the right way to make qt work on it I am working with buildroot right now. I know it is possible to make it work on an os which has no x server qtcrosscompile.blogspot.com/2020/05/… and I am trying to do it ..
    – mina
    Commented Dec 31, 2020 at 8:31
  • thank youu for your time I just want to clarify that I did it, and it was stupid to ask why the make menuconfig can't work, I just wanted to say that I wanted to find the configuration file ! I will edit the title of my question to make it more clear it may help someone
    – mina
    Commented Dec 31, 2020 at 8:42

To install the program you have to issue the command:

sudo apt install libncurses5-dev

Full kernel building instructions can be found on this page as part of the RPF/RPT kernel documentation here

  • I installed libncurses5-dev and still couldn't access the menuconfig I got the same error, I followed the kernel building instruction but it couldn't work for me raspberrypi.stackexchange.com/questions/118498/… so I gave up and worked with raspberry pi os lite but now I want to make my one microlinux os so I am working on buildroot
    – mina
    Commented Dec 23, 2020 at 13:49

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