RedHat Kernel Upgrade

As of RedHat Linux 7.2, kernel upgrades are far easier. In past releases of RedHat there were several kernel packages with interdependancies that did not allow for selective upgrading of one without upgrading them all.

For RedHat 7.2, the official upgrade process describes how to upgrade a 2.4 kernel using the RedHat released RPM. Newer RedHat and Fedora Core realeases use a similar upgrade procedure but consult the documentation for your particular version to be sure.

Let's Do It

If you are not using a laptop, 7.2 only requires three kernel packages:

  • kernel
  • kernel-headers
  • kernel-doc

Of these three packages only kernel-headers cannot have two different versions installed. This fortunately is not a problem as we will upgrade both kernel-headers and kernel-doc since most times you only need the latest version of both these packages.

The kernel package is another matter however. When a new kernel package is released you should not simply upgrade the kernel for several reasons:

  • your system is running the existing kernel
  • you may need to go back to the existing kernel if there is a problem with the new kernel

Now lets get down to it. The following commands should have you ready to boot either your new kernel or the previous one.

rpm -U kernel-headers-2.4.9-13.i386.rpm kernel-doc-2.4.9-13.i386.rpm
rpm -i kernel-2.4.9-13.athlon.rpm

Remember to install a kernel with the correct architecture of your platform. If you install a compatable architecture package, e.g., i686, moving to the correct architecture, athlon in my case, may be difficult.

My system uses GRUB as the boot loader and the kernel install added a new entry into /boot/grub/grub.conf for me. If you use lilo this may not be the case and you will need to add and entry in /etc/lilo.conf for the newly installed kernel and run lilo to update the MBR.