Oh I agree - I meant to say I only build from UBUNTU once and there were no problems. I think at the time it was 7.04 and 2.6.20's. I just want to know more about what makes Ubuntu different. And if it is different, then that's lame. Otherwise, it's awesome.
Yes, Ubuntu is definitely better, but has issues of its own. If you need HW support that only a newer kernel gives you that can be problematic as Ubuntu has a specific kernel build process. Although it can be done, building a new kernel from a tarball is not routine. To make life easier one should grab the kernel source via an official Ubuntu .deb if it is available. For example, I needed 2.6.28 under Intrepid and ended up building it from the 2.6.28 Jaunty .deb. At first I tried building from a kernel.org tarball, but quickly learned the error of my ways. Doctor, it hurts when I do that....
Well, I always build my kernel from the official tarball, there's no special method or source package, just the usual:
tar xjf linux-xxxx.tar.bz2
make menuconfig, make && make modules && make install && make modules_install
update-initrd -c -k x.x.x
and finally update /boot/grub/menu.lst.
For this you need build-essential, ncurses-term and libncurses5-dev.