What exactly is "linux-tools" set of packages?

It is released with every kernel version, but (from what I can see) it contains only a few diagnostic utilities (cpupower, pref, turbostat, x86_energy_perf_policy) and is not required by any other package. These are all command line tools, they seem to deal with CPU settings, and I saw the functionality duplicated in some other graphical programs or widgets.

So... are they really needed by a non-technical, console-avoiding user?

1 Answer 1


The linux-tools package contained three optional utilities: a utility for sharing USB devices over network connections, KBuild infrastructure components, and performance analysis tools. (In more recent versions of Ubuntu the tools seem to have moved to the linux-tools-generic package.)

No, you don't generally need them, and you probably don't want them. The utilities were separated into a different package because they are not DIRECTLY used by many folks, and not essential to the operation of most systems.

On the other hand, on the laptop I am using right now I DO have the linux-tools packages installed because they are a suggested package used by the TLP utility, which I installed to manage power and battery issues. If you are running a system with a different energy management package it might also install the linux-tools package to operate.

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    You don't actually answer the first question: What are Linux Tools? Maybe knowing what those are would better help people on whether to install them or not. Jan 10, 2018 at 4:43
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    Alexis: Thanks for the comment. The answer seems to be somewhat complicated -- the linux-tools packages contain three totally different utilities. (A USB device sharing utility, KBuild infrastructure, and performance analysis tools.) But now it looks like maybe Debian split the package into component packages and dropped linux-tools sometime since 2016. I haven't found the point where (if?) the split happened in Ubuntu, but in debian there's now a linux-perf package for the performance analysis tool. Jan 12, 2018 at 23:50
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    UPDATE: It looks like between Trusty and Xenial, Ubuntu renamed the package from linux-tools to linux-tools-generic. I don't know how they're managing the differences "upstream" to Debian. Jan 12, 2018 at 23:58

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