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Chapter 21. Manually Upgrading the Kernel

21.1. Overview of Kernel Packages
21.2. Preparing to Upgrade
21.3. Downloading the Upgraded Kernel
21.4. Performing the Upgrade
21.5. Verifying the Initial RAM Disk Image
21.6. Verifying the Boot Loader
21.6.1. Configuring the GRUB 2 Boot Loader
21.6.2. Configuring the OS/400 Boot Loader
21.6.3. Configuring the YABOOT Boot Loader
The Fedora kernel is custom-built by the Fedora kernel team to ensure its integrity and compatibility with supported hardware. Before a kernel is released, it must first pass a rigorous set of quality assurance tests.
Fedora kernels are packaged in the RPM format so that they are easy to upgrade and verify using the Yum or PackageKit package managers. PackageKit automatically queries the Yum repositories and informs you of packages with available updates, including kernel packages.
This chapter is therefore only useful for users who need to manually update a kernel package using the rpm command instead of yum.

Use Yum to install kernels whenever possible

Whenever possible, use either the Yum or PackageKit package manager to install a new kernel because they always install a new kernel instead of replacing the current one, which could potentially leave your system unable to boot.
For more information on installing kernel packages with Yum, refer to Section 4.1.2, “Updating Packages”.

21.1. Overview of Kernel Packages

Fedora contains the following kernel packages:
  • kernel — Contains the kernel for single, multicore and multiprocessor systems.
  • kernel-debug — Contains a kernel with numerous debugging options enabled for kernel diagnosis, at the expense of reduced performance.
  • kernel-devel — Contains the kernel headers and makefiles sufficient to build modules against the kernel package.
  • kernel-debug-devel — Contains the development version of the kernel with numerous debugging options enabled for kernel diagnosis, at the expense of reduced performance.
  • kernel-doc — Documentation files from the kernel source. Various portions of the Linux kernel and the device drivers shipped with it are documented in these files. Installation of this package provides a reference to the options that can be passed to Linux kernel modules at load time.
    By default, these files are placed in the /usr/share/doc/kernel-doc-kernel_version/ directory.
  • kernel-headers — Includes the C header files that specify the interface between the Linux kernel and user-space libraries and programs. The header files define structures and constants that are needed for building most standard programs.
  • linux-firmware — Contains all of the firmware files that are required by various devices to operate.
  • perf — This package contains supporting scripts and documentation for the perf tool shipped in each kernel image subpackage.