Should I install/update the Linux Kernel?

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James_Smith
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Should I install/update the Linux Kernel?

Post by James_Smith » Sun Jul 31, 2016 7:20 pm

I'm still kind of a newbie, even though I've been doing the Linux thing for over a year now.

Since I've gone with LM18, I've seen this on my update manager. It's level 5, so I never updated it, but it's the Linux Kernel. I mean, that sounds pretty important!

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The only reason I haven't is because of those 'you might break your system' warnings.
sudo apt-get --purge remove macOS

all41
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Re: Should I install/update the Linux Kernel?

Post by all41 » Sun Jul 31, 2016 7:28 pm

From clem himself:
Upgrade for a reason!
If it's not broke don't fix it.

If you do install the new kernel and experience unexpected problems
you can always revert to your present kernel at the grub screen
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Schultz
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Re: Should I install/update the Linux Kernel?

Post by Schultz » Sun Jul 31, 2016 7:42 pm

Isn't there some kind of a vulnerability with the default kernel (4.4.0-21) in Mint 18? I upgraded to 4.4.0-31 when it came out and haven't had any problems. (I always upgrade when a newer kernel comes out and never had problems; but then again I haven't been using Linux that long.)

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Re: Should I install/update the Linux Kernel?

Post by jimallyn » Mon Aug 01, 2016 6:09 pm

Yes, there are several security issues with the -21 kernel, and you should update to the -31 kernel. I have Mint 18 (both Cinnamon and Mate) running in VirtualBox and have updated to -31 on both of those. Also, I have installed 18 on computers for several friends of mine, and update those to -31 also.
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Re: Should I install/update the Linux Kernel?

Post by James_Smith » Mon Aug 01, 2016 11:38 pm

jimallyn wrote:Yes, there are several security issues with the -21 kernel, and you should update to the -31 kernel. I have Mint 18 (both Cinnamon and Mate) running in VirtualBox and have updated to -31 on both of those. Also, I have installed 18 on computers for several friends of mine, and update those to -31 also.
I read this and thought, "Great! When I get back to my computer, I'll update the kernel!" Unlike when I was a Windows user, I'm happy to update stuff now

I arrived back at my office and was all prepared to do the update when I saw this warning:

"The Linux Kernel is responsible for hardware and drivers support. Note that this update will not remove your existing kernel. You will still be able to boot with the current kernel by choosing the advanced options in your boot menu. Please be cautious though.. kernel regressions can affect your ability to connect to the Internet or to log in graphically. DKMS modules are compiled for the most recent kernels installed on your computer. If you are using proprietary drivers and you want to use an older kernel, you will need to remove the new one first."

I'm trying to translate this into moron so that I might better understand what's going on. If I do this update, before shutting off my computer, I must go to Menu > System Settings > ? I tried to find boot manager, but I didn't see it. Is that the same as Login Window? No, it couldn't be... could it?

Ok, so after I figure out what boot manager is, what then?

Can someone give me a step-by-step?
sudo apt-get --purge remove macOS

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Re: Should I install/update the Linux Kernel?

Post by jimallyn » Tue Aug 02, 2016 12:14 am

No, you don't have to do anything before you turn off the computer. The next time you boot the computer, it will automatically boot into the most recent kernel. You can get into the boot manager to select the old kernel if that's what you want to do, but if you are happy with the newly installed kernel, there is nothing you have to do.
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mts
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Re: Should I install/update the Linux Kernel?

Post by mts » Tue Aug 02, 2016 2:00 am

@jimallyn

Thanks very much for the heads up.
A Quick search for Linux kernel patches for Ubuntu 16.04 gets good information.
While I can appreciate Clem's "if it ain't broke statement" Mint should really inform it's users somehow of such vulnerabilities.
Most Mint users are told not to update the kernel and are therefore at risk.

Personally I don't think that is good enough when security issues need to be patched.

http://www.ubuntu.com/usn/usn-3006-1/
http://www.ubuntu.com/usn/usn-3016-4/
http://news.softpedia.com/news/canonica ... 5720.shtml

Cheers!
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Re: Should I install/update the Linux Kernel?

Post by Pjotr » Tue Aug 02, 2016 4:54 am

New kernels with security fixes, show up by default in Update Manager when you've selected the default update policy "Optimize stability and security" or the update policy "Always update everything". They're only invisible in the update policy "Don't break my computer!" So it's up to you, which policy you select.

You should consider this, however: newer kernels may contain security fixes, but the question is: how relevant are those security fixes for Linux-on-the-desktop? In my experience: usually not, or hardly. While there's a definite risk that a newer kernel breaks things.

So that's why I think it's a good idea that you don't get to see new kernels, when you select the most cautious update policy "Don't break my computer!".
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