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How To Apply Kernel Patches on Ubuntu

Ubuntu 5

In this article, we will guide you through the process of applying kernel patches on Ubuntu. This can be a complex task, especially for beginners, but we will break it down into simple, manageable steps.

Quick Answer

To apply kernel patches on Ubuntu, you need to clone the kernel source code, apply the patches, configure the kernel, build and install the kernel, update GRUB, and reboot the system. It is a complex task that requires several steps, but by following the instructions provided in the post, you can successfully apply kernel patches on Ubuntu.


Kernel patches are modifications to the Linux kernel, the core of the operating system. They can be used to fix bugs, improve performance, or add new features.


Before we start, make sure you have the necessary packages installed on your system. You can do this by running the following command:

sudo apt-get install git build-essential kernel-package fakeroot libncurses5-dev

This command uses the apt-get package manager to install several packages:

  • git: a version control system
  • build-essential: a package that includes various tools necessary for compiling software
  • kernel-package: a tool for building kernel and modules
  • fakeroot: a tool that allows a non-privileged user to run commands as root
  • libncurses5-dev: a library for terminal-based interfaces

Cloning the Kernel Source Code

Next, we need to clone the kernel source code. We can do this with the git command:

git clone git:// v4.4

This command clones the kernel source code from the specified URL into a directory called v4.4.

Applying the Patches

Now, we can apply the patches. First, copy the patch files to the kernel directory. Then, change to the kernel directory with the cd command:

cd v4.4

Next, apply the patches with the patch command:

patch -p1 < 0001-base-packaging.patch
patch -p1 < 0002-debian-changelog.patch
patch -p1 < 0003-configs-based-on-Ubuntu-4.4.0-0.10.patch

These commands apply the patches in the specified order. The -p1 option strips the leading directory from the file names in the patch file.

Configuring the Kernel

Before we can build the kernel, we need to configure it. We can do this with the following commands:

cp /boot/config-`uname -r` .config
gedit .config
make oldconfig
make menuconfig

These commands do the following:

  • cp /boot/config-uname -r .config: copies the current kernel configuration to the .config file in the kernel directory.
  • gedit .config: opens the .config file in a text editor.
  • make oldconfig: updates the .config file with default answers to any new configuration options.
  • make menuconfig: opens a graphical menu for configuring the kernel.

Building and Installing the Kernel

Now, we can build the kernel with the make command:

make -j `getconf _NPROCESSORS_ONLN` deb-pkg LOCALVERSION=-custom

This command builds the kernel and generates .deb packages. The -j option specifies the number of jobs (commands) to run simultaneously. getconf _NPROCESSORS_ONLN returns the number of processors available, so this command uses all available processors to speed up the build process.

Finally, we can install the generated .deb files with the dpkg command:

sudo dpkg -i ../*.deb

This command installs all .deb files in the parent directory.

Updating GRUB and Rebooting

After installing the new kernel, we need to update the GRUB bootloader and reboot the system:

sudo update-grub
sudo reboot

The update-grub command updates the GRUB bootloader with the new kernel, and the reboot command reboots the system.


Applying kernel patches on Ubuntu can be a complex task, but with these steps, you should be able to do it successfully. Remember to always backup your data before making any major changes to your system.

What are kernel patches?

Kernel patches are modifications to the Linux kernel that can fix bugs, improve performance, or add new features.

Why would I need to apply kernel patches on Ubuntu?

You might need to apply kernel patches on Ubuntu to fix specific issues, improve compatibility with hardware or software, or enable new features not available in the default kernel.

Can I apply kernel patches without any prior knowledge of Linux?

Applying kernel patches can be complex, especially for beginners. It is recommended to have some knowledge of Linux and the Ubuntu operating system before attempting to apply kernel patches.

How can I check if the necessary packages are installed on my system?

You can run the command sudo apt-get install git build-essential kernel-package fakeroot libncurses5-dev to install the necessary packages. If they are already installed, the command will inform you that they are up to date.

Can I apply patches to any version of the Linux kernel?

Kernel patches are specific to certain versions of the Linux kernel. Make sure the patches you have are compatible with the version of the kernel you are using.

How can I revert the changes made by a kernel patch?

If you want to revert the changes made by a kernel patch, you can uninstall the kernel package and reinstall the previous version of the kernel. However, this process can be complex and may require advanced knowledge.

Is it necessary to configure the kernel before building it?

Yes, it is necessary to configure the kernel before building it. The configuration process allows you to customize various options and settings according to your needs.

Can I build the kernel without applying any patches?

Yes, you can build the kernel without applying any patches. However, applying patches can be beneficial as they can fix bugs or add new features.

What should I do if I encounter errors during the kernel patching or building process?

If you encounter errors during the patching or building process, it is recommended to search for the specific error message online or consult relevant documentation or forums for assistance.

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