After downloading the tarball for version 22.214.171.124 version of the kernel and my trusty old compiler had a go at installing it. Other than the stability problems I mentioned the other day I have a couple of other reasons to upgrade the kernel.
One is a recently aquired USB storage device. Sadly it's not been detected by my installation, if I have to compile the kernel again might as well make it an upto date version of the kernel. The second reason is that for some reason or other my creative webcam (which is nearly an year old) still refuses to capture anything. The closest I have come to video capture on linux is to make the light on the camera blink.
While installing the last version I learnt a few things so there were no repeats of the make+dep+is+unnecessary+now error again. The reboot after the kernel was less than successfull it ended with the dreaded 'unable to mount root file system' error message.
There are all kinds of wierd reasons while the root file system may not be mounted. In my case it turned out the the kernel was a slightly larger than the last time round and needed the help of a Ram Disk. Since I generally prefer to edit grub.conf by hand with out using the make install step the initrd had not been built.
After booting up again in 2.6.5 (followed by a lot of browsing that turned up nothing but dead ends) I did resort to the make install step and viola the I am now tapping away on a athlon running on 2.6.8
The new kernel is still oblivious to the existence of the USB device (Creative Muvo TX by the way) and it looks like I may have to solve the mystery of the dead speaker all over again.
Followup: oct 17 126.96.36.199 did solve the usb device problem