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(!) ?Discussion

Kernel > FAQ

Newer Kernel ?

Why would I install a new kernel?

It is often not necessary since the default kernel shipped with Debian handles most configurations. However, it is useful to compile a new kernel in order to:

  • Handle special hardware needs, or hardware conflicts with the pre-supplied kernels.
  • Optimize the kernel by removing useless drivers to speed up boot time (Do you really need it?)

  • Use options of the kernel which are not supported by the default kernel (see reasons).

You have two options to install a new kernel : you can install one of the precompiled kernels provided by Debian/GNU Linux or build the kernel yourself.

Installing linux image

This is explained in HowToUpgradeKernel.

Building my own kernel

If you just want to change the configuration or apply some patch, see HowToRebuildAnOfficialDebianKernelPackage.

If you want to build a kernel that is not distributed in Debian yet at all, see BuildingKernelFromUpstreamSources


Kernel Oops
The 'oops' refers to the message printed by the Linux kernel when an unforeseen condition occurs. Such incidents should be reported to the Linux kernel developers. Information on how to do so comes with the Linux kernel sources.


Misc FAQ

What's my current kernel?

Use the command uname(1). For example : uname -r which prints 2.6.26-1-686 (so the package name is linux-image-$(uname -r)).

Which package does it comes from?

Usually, this command will work : dpkg -p linux-image-$(uname -r). Users of APT-based frontends should use apt-cache show linux-image-$(uname -r) instead.

Where is the kernel configuration file?

The kernel configuration file of Debian Official kernel are available in /boot, named after the kernel release, like /boot/config-2.6.18-6-486, or /boot/config-$(uname -r).

All the kernel configuration files, which were used to build the official Debian's binary kernel images from the linux-2.6 source package are available from http://kernel.alioth.debian.org/config/.

Does Debian have /proc/config.gz?

/proc/config.gz isn't available in Debian, because the config is provided in /boot/config-*, no need for the in-memory variant (Kernel configuration CONFIG_IKCONFIG and CONFIG_IKCONFIG_PROC). See 541489

The following bash command match the current configuration file (on standard kernel):

   1 ls /boot/config-$(uname -r)
Kernel Source ?

See dpkg -l 'linux-source*' for available source packages, and KernelGit for development trees.

Kernel Headers ??

see KernelHeaders.

Patches included in the Debian Linux kernel


Firmware not included

see KernelFirmwareLicensing?

New features

kernelnewbies.org has summaries of new features in kernels:

See also