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Ok, so I'm not new to Linux, but by no means am I a guru, and its time for me to upgrade my Linux Kernel to 3.5.4 (I need new drivers only compatible with the newest kernel image), and I would like to do so manually.

What I mean is that I would like to download the official .tar.bz2 image from here, then extract the image, but after that how do I actually install the kernel image?

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Did you consider to use binary pre-built packages instead? (As mentioned in the answer of @BuZZ-dEE) Or is there a reason for compiling/installing from upstream souce? – gertvdijk Sep 17 '12 at 8:33
I did consider it, and at the time I dismissed it, as I though the kernel would do better if it was compiled on the platform it would run on. However after looking at these answers, and doing further research, it doesn't seem to matter, does it? – John Sep 17 '12 at 19:46
No, not really. Unless you do specific optimizations like settings specific compiler flags or manually configuring all the modules, it doesn't really matter performance wise. It is possible, however, to lower boot time a few seconds or so by doing so. – gertvdijk Sep 17 '12 at 19:50
up vote 1 down vote accepted

You could update your kernel to v3.5.4 by installing a mainline kernel.

Do mainline kernel builds include Ubuntu specific drivers?

By definition the mainline kernel builds are made from virgin unaltered mainline kernel sources and therefore do not, and should not, include any Ubuntu patches or drivers. There are also no binary drivers for these kernels.

Open a terminal and do the following:

mkdir v3.5.4-quantal
cd v3.5.4-quantal

Only for 32 bit systems:


Only for 64 bit systems:


Install the kernel.:

sudo dpkg -i *.deb
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These packages are targeted for Quantal (12.10), not for 12.04. It could just work, but compatibility issues may arise now or later. I recommend installing the 3.5 kernel backported for Precise, for example via Q-series LTS PPA. For example, I have seen many compatibility issues installing 'plain' mainline kernels for Oneiric in Lucid (mainly GUI-related). Also, the question is about how to install (build) the kernel from source from – gertvdijk Sep 17 '12 at 7:50
His question is not so clear, I think. Maybe he doesn't know that there are a binary mainline kernel for Ubuntu. You could install the quantal packages also in precise. If you only use open source drivers, it should work. I use those packages also with precise without problems. – BuZZ-dEE Sep 17 '12 at 8:30
@gertvdijk please explain me, why it should be necessary to backport a mainline kernel to a specific ubuntu version – BuZZ-dEE Sep 17 '12 at 8:58
Kernel configurations for compatibility with user-space, for example Xorg, filesystems, device management (udev/devfs), etc. Also packaging options that may be incompatible if some schemes are changed (new FHS for example). Backported kernels are usually being tested with older userspace, so that should improve user experience. – gertvdijk Sep 17 '12 at 9:08

Compiling and installing upstream ('vanilla') kernels is described in this wiki article: GitKernelBuild. Should contain everything you need.

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