Well, on Sunday I managed to compile a new kernel fine in Xubuntu Gutsy (I actually compiled a 2.6.24 kernel, rather than the 2.6.22 kernel Gutsy came with, and really I should have gotten it from apt-get so I was getting the one patched specifically for Ubuntu rather than a vanilla kernel). It took absolutely ages to compile.
But was it worth it? Hell, no! I should really have had a better idea of what to do when I got the menu up to decide what drivers to include! Therefore I just left it as the default, so presumably it included every driver under the sun! It took a long time to boot up afterwards.
But, on the plus side, I CAN say I have compiled my own kernel from scratch, and it did work. Next time, I will pay a LOT more attention to the options available.
Incidentally, I found out today that the book Linux Kernel in a Nutshell, which I will have to read before I try to compile a kernel again, is available as a free download. Needless to say, as soon as I heard this I was straight onto the site! I'd actually rather have a physical copy as ebooks are hard to read, but I'm not going to complain.
My kernel has now gone - it was in VirtualBox, which I use to experiment with different Linux distros and generally mess around a lot, which is actually a very good learning experience. I've now put a new command-line install of Ubuntu in to play around with.