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I want to know what is the benefit/necessity of upgrading to a new kernel?

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marked as duplicate by Uri Herrera, bodhi.zazen, user68186, Basharat Sialvi, bcbc Jun 5 '13 at 6:08

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the changes are specific for each version of the Kernel. Check the development on launchpad if you are really that interested of the kernel. –  Alvar Jun 4 '13 at 15:47
    
Why not upgrade to a newer kernel? What kind of user are you? What system are you running? is it a server? are you modding and experimenting with kernels? basically who are you as a user! –  Alvar Jun 4 '13 at 15:48

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Kernel updates help a lot (for example, my wifi card wasn't recognized in the ancient kernel-using CentOS, but worked fine under Ubuntu and Fedora, which both have newish kernels), fix weirdness, kind of like bios updates, improve performance a bit, etc.

They're like updating to a new Windows, because the old one doesn't support something, or glitches out tons.

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As far as I'm concerned, the question of kernel upgrading is the same as any other updgrade/update.

Why upgrade to Ubuntu 13.04 for example? It's something new and it comes with the hope of improved performance, better compatibility etc.

Unlike upgrading your entire operating system, you can keep the old kernel easily (by just not getting rid of it after you upgrade) and go back to it at any time. (Holding shift at startup should boot into grub and let you pick from any kernel you have installed)

I had some serious issues with the 3.5 kernel (sound problems, wifi crashes, graphics failures) so I upgraded to 3.8 and never looked back. (I did however have a sound card problem with 3.8-18 but that was quickly upgrade anyway.)

So in short, there's no necessity to upgrade by any means - my wife is still running 3.2 on Zorin 6 and is happy with the performance - but there might be benefits. It's a bit of a dice roll sometimes though, so be fair warned that upgrading your kernel (particulary if you delete the old one) may cause some unwanted side effects.

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