( This information is old, please look at this page for more up-to-date™ info. )
Links to Information and Files
The first step to compiling the new kernel is to download it from the kernel.org ftp site:
Kernel 2.4 Directory
Next it is important to understand what is in the new kernel and how the stuff works. The help features can be a great help on this.
New Features in the 2.3 Developmental Kernel
This is a listing of the new things that were in the 2.3.x versions of the Kernel. Most of this stuff is what is in the new 2.4.0 kernels and so that is why it is listed here. Notice that a lot of the stuff is USB and Xtra stuff along the same lines. Most of the newer stuff in this kernel is specific to certain groups or people.
LVM-How-To (One of the new features in the 2.4 Kernel)
This is one of the new things in the 2.4 kernel that I was impressed with. This allows the ability to dynamically change and setup the partitions for linux. This offers enhanced flexibility to the system and allows for additional space to be added as the system grows.
Kernel How-To (Helpful in compiling the Kernel)
Here is the stuff that will walk you through the kernel compile and install for your system. Remember: "When in doubt... read the destructions."
After looking through a large portion of the new features I have come to this conclusion. Linus thought it was time to put out a new kernel, but didn't really have time to work on it too much with his job at Transmeta. So he took code that people had been sending him and threw a new one together to "get a kernel out". This kernel is not needed for servers unless you have some USB server related devices. A lot of the stuff in this kernel is "fluff" not a whole lot of use to the mass of people that use linux. There are a few shining points, LVM, IPChains, and hopefully the /dev filesystem will be soon. All in all I think a 16+ meg download for this is too much (unless of course you have a T1 to download it on).