reply to yum kernel update

Temlakos temlakos at
Wed Jan 26 15:35:17 UTC 2005

Lee Tambiah wrote:
> I've installed FC3 and ran YUM to get the latest updates. I noticed that the
> kernel is selected not to be updated in the default settings. There are
> updates available for it.
> Should I go ahead and use YUM to update the kernel?
> What problems/hurdles could I encounter by using YUM to update the kernel?
>>>>Yum is a reliable update tool, you can update the kernel with yum and it will install the new kernel with no problems. Your previous kernel will also be stored in case you need to roll back to your previous kernel version. Personally though i would recommend not to upgrade your kernel and stick with the 2.6.9 version, as i think there are some issues with the 2.6.10 kernel, such as sound problems. You can also configure yum so the latest kernel is not activated, although it will download it, it will keep your current version active. Hope this helps!
> Regards
> L Tambiah - Linux Enthusiast

I admit that I'm not a yum user--I've been using up2date and apt. But 
kernel updates are a special case. The reason: so many of us insert 
custom modules, or even build custom kernels. Furthermore, every 
separate kernel we have loaded rates a separate line in the bootloader, 
because it's treated as a separate OS. Start a new kernel, and you have 
to start all over again.

What will happen if you update a kernel--and AFAIK it doesn't matter 
whether you use apt, up2date, or yum--is that you'll get a separate 
bootloader line. I'd suggest loading the Bootloader configuration tool 
to save yourself a lot of headaches--unless you know how to edit the 
file /etc/grub.conf and are thoroughly familiar with how to mark a given 
kernel as the default. For reasons that I never learned, a new kernel in 
FC2 was never listed as the default. FC3 corrects that little oversight.

So what you do is:

1.	Get the new kernel update.
2.	Restart your machine with the new kernel.
3.	Customize it however you need.
4.	If you have something that works, /then and only then/ do you remove 
the previous version of the kernel from your system. And frankly, I've 
decided not to delete old kernels until my /boot partition, now at 100 
MB, gets more than twenty-five percent full. That way, if I want to go 
back to the "last known good kernel," I at least have it on my system. 
When you're using a distro like Fedora, that gives you the latest and 
greatest, that's the wisest course.

Also, whenever I hear of a new kernel update, I generally prefer to 
handle the kernel update /alone/, and prove it out for a few minutes, 
before I grab the other updates that are available.

Generally, you're safe updating kernels in the full release. (The 
testers, however, get the /really/ latest and greatest to make sure how 
great it is.) But every now and then you have a problem--like the one 
about CD burning now being restricted to the superuser because the 
authors of "cdrecord" turned out to be exploiting a kernel weakness that 
the Kernel Development Lab subsequently closed. (What's the status on 
that? Do I need to "su" whenever I do any system housecleaning with my 
CD burner?)


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