How to Install Linux Kernel 5.14 on Ubuntu 20.04

Linux kernel 5.14 is out with many new features, support, and security. The Linux 5.14 kernel release has gone through seven release candidates over the last two months and benefits from the contributions of 1,650 different developers. Those that contribute to Linux kernel development include individual contributors and prominent vendors like Intel, AMD, IBM, Oracle, and Samsung.

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Kernel 5.14 New Features

There is quite an extensive list of changes for 5.14; some include:

  • AMD Smart Shift laptops.
  • AMD SFH support for light sensor and human presence detection with newer AMD Ryzen laptops.
  • ACPI Platform Runtime Mechanism (allows moving some system management interrupt handlers out of the system management mode and into OS/VMM execution context).
  • Core-scheduling interface to help mitigate user-space to user-space and user-to-kernel attacks.
  • Dell Hardware Privacy laptop support.
  • Flash-Friendly File System read-only mode.
  • Faster XMM hypercalls for Hyper-V guests.
  • Intel P-State for hybrid processors for Alder Lake.
  • Raspberry Pi 400 support.
  • Support for Intel Alder Lake P graphics.
  • Microsoft Xbox One Controller select/share button support.
  • memfd_secret is a system call that provides the ability to create memory areas that are visible only in the context of the owning process (and are not mapped by other processes or even the kernel page tables).
  • Qualcomm Adreno 660 GPU support.

To see more, visit the kernel changelog.

Prerequisites

  • Recommended OS: Ubuntu 20.04 or higher
  • User account: A user account with sudo or root access.

Update Operating System

Update your Ubuntu operating system to make sure all existing packages are up to date:

sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade -y

The tutorial will be using the sudo command and assuming you have sudo status. To verify sudo status on your account:

sudo whoami

Example output showing sudo status:

[joshua@ubuntu ~]$ sudo whoami
root

If you have not set up a sudo user account and would like to, visit our tutorial on How to Add a User to Sudoers on Ubuntu.

To use the root account, use the following command with the root password to log in.

su
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Install 5.14 Generic Kernel from PPA

The first option to install the Linux 5.14 kernels is to install the ppa:tuxinvader/lts-mainline by TuxInvader. This has some of the most up-to-date 5.14 kernel builds and is often updated regularly. The drawback is this is an untrusted PPA, but given the history of the PPA, it is safe as any other reputable one to install and give it a testing kernel; you should not be installing this on a sensitive or production type system anyway.

First, install the LTS-Mainline PPA:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:tuxinvader/lts-mainline -y

Once installed, update your repository list.

sudo apt update

Next, install the 5.14 generic kernel drivers:

sudo apt-get install linux-generic-5.14

Example output:

How to Install Linux Kernel 5.14 on Ubuntu 20.04

Type “Y,” and then press the “ENTER KEY” to proceed with the installation.

Once complete, you will need to reboot your system for the new kernel to be fully activated.

reboot

Once logged back into your Ubuntu system, run the following command to confirm the kernel version running.

sudo uname -r

Example output:

5.14.9-051409-generic

As mentioned above, you have installed generic Linux Kernel 5.14 from the Tuxinvader PPA. For future updates, run the apt update command, and any new builds will be automatically shown, and the process is the same as any other standard package installed.

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Comments and Conclusion

In the tutorial, you have learned how to install the latest 5.14 kernel on your Ubuntu 20.04 system; the same can be used on the newer version 21.04 and 21.10. Note, if your system is a production server, it would be advised to use the existing kernel that ships with Ubuntu or use the HWE version for the most stability. However, for those wanting to try kernel 5.14, you can undoubtedly swap back to previous kernels quite easily in the boot menu, so giving it a try isn’t a bad idea, especially if you got new hardware that isn’t supported by the default packaged kernel.

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