Upgrading LMDE4 to the latest Linux kernel

Linux Kernel 5.6 in LMDE 4 Linux Kernel 5.6 in LMDE4

As you remember, I got the Linux Mint Debian Edition 4 installed on my Dell XPS laptop.

Being Debian based, this setup is rather stable. But also, it means the latest available Linux Kernel is still 4.20.x branch, meaning you would miss out on the benefits and improvements of the Linux Kernel 5.x branch.

Backports in Linux Mint Debian Edition

I decided to upgrade Linux Kernel and realised that it’s much easier than I expected.

Turns out, LMDE4 already has backports repository activated by default in the /etc/apt/sources.list.d/official-package-repositories.list file (see the last line):

deb http://packages.linuxmint.com debbie main upstream import backport #id:linuxmint_main

deb https://deb.debian.org/debian buster main contrib non-free
deb https://deb.debian.org/debian buster-updates main contrib non-free
deb http://security.debian.org buster/updates main contrib non-free

deb https://deb.debian.org/debian buster-backports main contrib non-free

Searching for Available Linux Kernels with apt

All we do is list all the packages named linux-image, using the apt search:

[email protected]:~ # apt search linux-image

To save you a bit of time, here’s the list of packages available for the latest and greated Linux Kernel 5.6:

[email protected]:~ # apt search linux-image | grep 5.6
p   linux-image-5.6.0-0.bpo.2-686:i386                  - Linux 5.6 for older PCs (signed)                              
p   linux-image-5.6.0-0.bpo.2-686-dbg:i386              - Debug symbols for linux-image-5.6.0-0.bpo.2-686               
p   linux-image-5.6.0-0.bpo.2-686-pae:i386              - Linux 5.6 for modern PCs (signed)                             
p   linux-image-5.6.0-0.bpo.2-686-pae-dbg:i386          - Debug symbols for linux-image-5.6.0-0.bpo.2-686-pae           
p   linux-image-5.6.0-0.bpo.2-686-pae-unsigned:i386     - Linux 5.6 for modern PCs                                      
p   linux-image-5.6.0-0.bpo.2-686-unsigned:i386         - Linux 5.6 for older PCs                                       
i   linux-image-5.6.0-0.bpo.2-amd64                     - Linux 5.6 for 64-bit PCs (signed)                             
p   linux-image-5.6.0-0.bpo.2-amd64-dbg                 - Debug symbols for linux-image-5.6.0-0.bpo.2-amd64             
p   linux-image-5.6.0-0.bpo.2-amd64-unsigned            - Linux 5.6 for 64-bit PCs                                      
p   linux-image-5.6.0-0.bpo.2-cloud-amd64               - Linux 5.6 for x86-64 cloud (signed)                           
p   linux-image-5.6.0-0.bpo.2-cloud-amd64-dbg           - Debug symbols for linux-image-5.6.0-0.bpo.2-cloud-amd64       
p   linux-image-5.6.0-0.bpo.2-cloud-amd64-unsigned      - Linux 5.6 for x86-64 cloud                                    
p   linux-image-5.6.0-0.bpo.2-rt-686-pae:i386           - Linux 5.6 for modern PCs, PREEMPT_RT (signed)                 
p   linux-image-5.6.0-0.bpo.2-rt-686-pae-dbg:i386       - Debug symbols for linux-image-5.6.0-0.bpo.2-rt-686-pae        
p   linux-image-5.6.0-0.bpo.2-rt-686-pae-unsigned:i386  - Linux 5.6 for modern PCs, PREEMPT_RT                          
p   linux-image-5.6.0-0.bpo.2-rt-amd64                  - Linux 5.6 for 64-bit PCs, PREEMPT_RT (signed)                 
p   linux-image-5.6.0-0.bpo.2-rt-amd64-dbg              - Debug symbols for linux-image-5.6.0-0.bpo.2-rt-amd64          
p   linux-image-5.6.0-0.bpo.2-rt-amd64-unsigned         - Linux 5.6 for 64-bit PCs, PREEMPT_RT 

Installing Linux Kernel 5.6 in LMDE4

Let’s install this latest kernel:

[email protected]:~ # apt install linux-image-5.6.0-0.bpo.2-amd64

I also installed headers in case I want to compile something:

[email protected]:~ # apt install linux-headers-5.6.0-0.bpo.2-amd64

That’s it! All that’s left is to reboot now, and then check the kernel version:

[email protected]:~ # uname -a
Linux xps 5.6.0-0.bpo.2-amd64 #1 SMP Debian 5.6.14-2~bpo10+1 (2020-06-09) x86_64 GNU/Linux

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I'm a principal consultant with Tech Stack Solutions. I help with cloud architectrure, AWS deployments and automated management of Unix/Linux infrastructure. Get in touch!

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