I'm running a kernel I compiled myself (because of this) and I'm wondering what apt will do with kernel updates?

The software updater currently lists (among others) these points:

  • Conmplete Generic Linux kernel and headers
  • Header files related to linux kernel version 3.5.0
  • (linux-headers-3.5.0-19) *
  • Linux kernel image for version 3.5.0 on 32 bit x86 SMP
    (linux-image-3.5.0-19-generic (New install)
  • Linux kernel image for version 3.5.0 on 32 bit x86 SMP
    (linux-image-extra-3.5.0-19-generic (New install)
  • Generic Linux kernel image
  • Linux Kernel Headers for development

That last one isn't really a problem I presume, but included for completeness.

To know what's going on:
Will apt try to replace my kernel with a newer one, does it update the default kernel (I never got rid of any packages for the standard kernel) and ignores the one in use, or something else entirely?

Should I ignore (deselect) them during updates(tricky, that'll be forgotten once), just update them, or should I uninstall some of these packages?

  • I think I listed all related packages, could be I forgot to inlcude one about kernel-headers, proving the point that deselecting them if I shouldn't update them isn't too fault-tolerant in the longer run :)
    – Nanne
    Nov 30, 2012 at 9:15

1 Answer 1


Installing kernel updates will not influence the custom one.

However, the update will update grub. When I installed a mainline kernel, since it had a higher number it was made as the default kernel.

So if your kernel has a higher number you shouldn't worry.

If your kernel is lower than 3.5.0-19, the update will make the newly installed kernel default. You can set the kernel you want as default by changing the GRUB_DEFAULT=0 line to GRUB_DEFAULT="1>2" in /etc/default/grub. 1, means the second option in the first page of the Grub menu and the 2 means the third one on the second page (Counting starts from 0).

  • Should I remove some of these packages? No sense in updating a kernel that won't work anyway? Just extra time in downloads and all...
    – Nanne
    Nov 30, 2012 at 9:56
  • I usually uninstall old kernels, leaving just one backup just in case.
    – To Do
    Nov 30, 2012 at 10:38
  • so an apt-get remove linux-image-3.5.0-19-generic is feasible? (if I'm sure that indeed I use a different kernel :) )
    – Nanne
    Nov 30, 2012 at 11:19
  • Yes. You may remove the headers package as well.
    – To Do
    Nov 30, 2012 at 12:55

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