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How to install Linux Kernel 5.9 on Debian 10?

angeloma
angeloma
Senior Writer and partner

Hello friends. In this short post, I‘ll show you how to install the Linux 5.9 kernel in Debian 10 so you can have better support for modern hardware in distribution as solid as Debian.

Debian is one of the most solid and stable distribution that there is, but this has a price to dispose of old packages. And one of them is the Linux kernel.

Currently, if you want to install Debian 10, you will have to install version 4.19 and this is a problem for recent hardware. One case of this is AMD’s Ryzen processors that with each new version of the kernel have seen an improvement in performance and support. So, if you install Debian 10 and your hardware is recent, it’s a good idea to do a kernel upgrade.

In this sense, the 5.9 kernel is supported by the Debian team. This guarantees an easy and safe installation. Also, this kernel is frequently patched by the Debian team bringing even more stability.

So, let’s do it.

Installing Linux Kernel 5.9 on Debian 10

Now we can choose to compile the kernel ourselves, but this practice is not good if we want a supported system. This makes that every time a new version is released, we have to repeat the process. It is not so good.

Fortunately, Debian supports this kernel version, through the backports repository that adds stable and more updated packages to the buster.

So, the first step is to enable this repository, to do so, open a terminal and edit the system repository file.

sudo nano /etc/apt/sources.list

And add the backports repository, simply by adding this line at the end of the file.

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

Save the changes and close the editor.

Then refresh APT to apply the new repository:

sudo apt update

The Debian backports repository is not automatically enabled. This is for security reasons. So to install a package from there, you have to manifest it explicitly.

So, to install the Linux Kernel 5.9 run the following command:

sudo apt install -t buster-backports linux-image-5.9.0-0.bpo.2-amd64 linux-headers-5.9.0-0.bpo.2-amd64
Reading package lists… Done
 Building dependency tree       
 Reading state information… Done
 The following additional packages will be installed:
   binutils binutils-common binutils-x86-64-linux-gnu cpp-8 gcc-8 libasan5 libatomic1 libbinutils libcc1-0 libgcc-8-dev libgomp1 libisl19 libitm1 liblsan0 libmpc3
   libmpfr6 libmpx2 libquadmath0 libtsan0 libubsan1 linux-compiler-gcc-8-x86 linux-headers-5.9.0-0.bpo.2-common linux-kbuild-5.9
 Suggested packages:
   binutils-doc gcc-8-locales gcc-8-multilib gcc-8-doc libgcc1-dbg libgomp1-dbg libitm1-dbg libatomic1-dbg libasan5-dbg liblsan0-dbg libtsan0-dbg libubsan1-dbg
   libmpx2-dbg libquadmath0-dbg linux-doc-5.9 debian-kernel-handbook
 Recommended packages:
   libc6-dev firmware-linux-free apparmor
 The following NEW packages will be installed:
   binutils binutils-common binutils-x86-64-linux-gnu cpp-8 gcc-8 libasan5 libatomic1 libbinutils libcc1-0 libgcc-8-dev libgomp1 libisl19 libitm1 liblsan0 libmpc3
   libmpfr6 libmpx2 libquadmath0 libtsan0 libubsan1 linux-compiler-gcc-8-x86 linux-headers-5.9.0-0.bpo.2-amd64 linux-headers-5.9.0-0.bpo.2-common
   linux-image-5.9.0-0.bpo.2-amd64 linux-kbuild-5.9
 0 upgraded, 25 newly installed, 0 to remove and 56 not upgraded.
 Need to get 88.4 MB of archives.
 After this operation, 448 MB of additional disk space will be used.
 Do you want to continue? [Y/n]

Then, reboot the system.

And open a terminal and check the updated kernel version:

uname -r
5.9.0-0.bpo.2-amd64

So, the kernel is installed correctly. Now you can use recent hardware in a better way on Debian 10.

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