HOWTO: Install Linux Kernel 2.6.38 on Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid from Ubuntu 11.04 Natty The Easy Way

Post date: 22-Mar-2011 22:30:22


If you use proprietary modules such as the NVIDIA binary driver you may need to upgrade them in order for them to work with Linux 2.6.38. Particularly for the NVIDIA binary driver you can follow this HOWTO. If needed, you should upgrade those after installing the new kernel. In the case of the NVIDIA binary driver you may need to login into a safe graphics session in order to complete the upgrade.HOWTO

  • Along with continued TRIM support, Linux 2.6.38 packs a whole lot of performance improvements. The most notable ones are:Transparent Huge Pages - automatic use of hardware support for huge pages where available. Should increase memory performance across the board.
  • Automatic Group Scheduling - this is the famous "200-line kernel patch" that does wonders for desktop responsiveness under heavy system load.
  • Big Kernel Lock removal - this actually happened in Linux 2.6.37 but still counts as a difference compared to 2.6.35.

Thanks to the Ubuntu Kernel Team, Linux 2.6.38 can be deployed on to an existing Ubuntu 10.04 installation following these simple steps:

  1. Update the repository for a good measure:
      1. sudo apt-get update
  2. Install the LTS backport kernel packages:
      1. sudo apt-get install linux-image-generic-lts-backport-natty linux-headers-generic-lts-backport-natty
  3. Reboot your computer and Ubuntu should boot using the Linux 2.6.38 kernel. As noted above, in certain cases you may need to update your proprietary drivers if you use any. Don't do it if they work fine.

In Case of Fire

Don't panic! You can always boot into the old kernel. To do that follow these steps:

  1. Reboot your computer and hold the Shift key. Don't release it.
  2. After your computer passes the BIOS screen the hidden GRUB boot menu should appear.
  3. Release the Shift key.
  4. From the menu, select the latest version of Linux prior to 2.6.38.

After you get to your desktop you will be able to fix what failed or uninstall Linux 2.6.38.