Saturday, August 14, 2010

Upgrade kernel from backports in Debian Stable

Debian Stable (currently Lenny) is, as the version name implies, stable. If there are any annoying bugs, I haven't come across any, and I haven't experienced any crashes or lock-ups in the OS itself. Some of the packages in Stable are, however, rather long in the tooth- they haven't been updated for a couple of years or more.
Recently I've been using Debian backports to update versions of some applications- Pidgin, Transmission, Open Office. I'd come across a few recommendations to upgrade the kernel, but had trouble finding a simple guide to doing so. There are hundreds of kernel entries in the list of software packages in Debian Lenny: which one to choose? The best guide I found was this one.
For an example one package I recommend updating on a desktop system is the Linux kernel. Debian ships Linux kernels that are geared towards server use by default. This is fine if you are running Debian on a server, and if you are, I strongly suggest you stick with the default kernel. However, there are other kernels available that are optimised for desktop use...
The guide goes on to recommend a couple of kernel packages that are not in the current list of packages- so I guess they've been updated. I went ahead and installed linux-image-2.6.32-bpo.5-686, Linux 2.6.32 for modern PCs.
This seems to be the kernel for duel-core processors. There are many different kernels for different computer architectures. I'm guessing "bpo.5" stands for backport (something) 5- but if any reader knows better, or of a guide to choosing the best kernel for a particular computer, please leave a comment.
UPDATE: A comment informs "bpo.5" stands for


  1. bpo stands for backports . org ^_^

  2. A interesting Debian Backports guide

  3. What is the difference between the kernels eg linux-image-2.6.32-bpo.4-686 and linux-image-2.6.32-bpo.5-686

  4. I have no idea.

    Maybe another reader will know the answer.

  5. thanks for your quick response and thanks for the original post, it was very helpful to me...

  6. Thanks for visiting.

    Sorry I couldn't answer your question.

    I would guess that the different numbers are updates to that particular kernel on, but that is just a guess.

    Somebody on the Debian forum would know for sure.