To configure Linux to detect a new hardware part, especially on a new kernel, you may need to recompile the
kernel. If you add too many devices in the kernel configuration, you may get an error message telling you that
the kernel is too big. The trick is to enable modules.
The kernel itself must be a certain size because it needs to be loaded in a fixed memory size.This is onereason why modules can be very handy. If you enable modules, you will need to make them:make modules
and install them: make modules_install
Then using the modprobe utility you can load selected modules on bootup. This way the kernel will be smaller and will compile with no error.
"Linux Tips: Kernel size and modules"