Huge Kernel

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I should apologize in advance for this question,
because it may not specifically relate to "blinux" issues,
but hey, if I can't build the kernel, well, ...

I have the phat distribution (a variant of redhat),
and I just unpacked and built the kernel, via "make oldconfig",
rather than reconfiguring it myself.
I thought this would build exactly the kernel that was shipped.
Instead I got a product three times as large.
Furthermore it is an elf executable, not a "x86 boot sector".

I then ran "make config" and stripped out almost everything, including several
features, such as networking, that I KNOW are included in the shipped kernel.
Still my product was larger.
I even stripped it -- still it was larger.
In fact it is "too large" for lilo,
so I can't even launch it.

Does anybody know what I am doing wrong?

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