Ubuntu Kernel Updates

James Gray james at grayonline.id.au
Tue Mar 14 00:00:41 GMT 2006

Some may have seen the latest Ubuntu Security Notice (USN-263-1) which 
requires a new kernel.  Now like many, I like my systems to run as slick as 
possible and I've manually installed a 686 kernel on my lappy and uninstalled 
every other "linux-image*" package.

This is a problem.  Because the new kernel is a new package (not just a 
version increment) it wont be installed with an "apt-get upgrade" or even and 
"apt-get dist-upgrade".  This problem burnt me when I went from Hoary->Breezy 
on my AMD64 machine too; the underlying system was upgraded but not the 
kernel.  All manner of freaky juju then occurred until I manually grabbed 
Breezy's kernel, then balance was restored to the force. ;)

There is an EASY solution  though!  There are a number of meta-packages that 
*always* depend on the latest kernel for a given architecture:
... etc

Here's (a subset) of what apt has to say about the linux-image-686 package:
Package: linux-image-686
Source: linux-meta
Depends: linux-image-2.6.12-9-686
Description: Linux kernel image on PPro/Celeron/PII/PIII/PIV.
 This package will always depend on the latest kernel image available
 for Pentium Pro/Celeron/Pentium II/Pentium III/Pentium IV.

As these are updated to depend on the new kernel, when a new kernel is 
released you get it by virtue of the meta package's dependence on it.  See 
how it works?

Just thought with the looming release of Ubuntu 6.04 (Dapper Drake) and the 
recent security update, I'd share my (limited) insights to the wonderful 
world of apt on Ubuntu :)  (BTW - I'm pretty sure Debian does things the same 
way, just double check the package names).


I didn't get sophisticated -- I just got tired.  But maybe that's what
sophisticated is -- being tired.
		-- Rita Gain
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