How to Install Linux Kernel Headers on Rocky Linux EL9 or EL8

If you’re working on a Rocky Linux system, you may need to install missing Linux kernel headers to build and install specific software. This guide demonstrates installing the missing kernel headers on Rocky Linux 9 and Rocky Linux 8 distributions.

What are Linux Kernel Headers? Explained

Linux Kernel Headers provide a vital connection between the Linux Kernel and user-space programs. Essentially, these headers are a collection of C header files that define all of the interfaces and data structures used by the kernel. Irrespective of the purpose, these definitions make possible direct communication between user-space programs and Kernel. With the help of these headers, user-space software can obtain information about the configuration of their Linux Kernel – such as the version or build options. As a result, building Linux-specific software on user machines becomes relatively easy due to this collection of headers, as it allows users to interact with their kernel effectively. Knowing that Linux Kernel Headers are key components of any Linux system is paramount for newer users who want to dig deeper into the configuration wirings on their system.

Step 1: Update Rocky Linux

First, ensure your system is up-to-date, especially in regards to the Linux Kernel; ensure you do a restart if any Linux Kernel packages are updated before proceeding.

sudo dnf upgrade --refresh

Step 2: Check the Current Linux Kernel

Before installing the missing kernel headers, it’s important to check the current kernel version. This can be done by running the following command in the terminal.

uname -r

This command will display the version of the currently running kernel. Note this version, as it will be used in the next step.

Example output from my machine:


Step 3: Install Linux Kernel Headers

Once the kernel version has been determined, the kernel headers package can be installed. On Rocky Linux, this can be done by running the following command in the terminal.

sudo dnf install kernel-headers-$(uname -r)

This command will install the kernel headers package corresponding to the currently running kernel version. The package manager and package name may differ if you use a different version of Linux.

Optionally, once installing any kernel packages, you may want to reboot your system.


Step 4: Verify Linux Kernel Headers Installation

Now that you have installed the headers package for your Linux Kernel run the following command to verify that the kernel headers have been successfully installed.

sudo dnf list installed | grep kernel-headers

This command will display a list of all installed kernel headers packages, and the package you just installed should be listed there.

See also
How to Install Otter Browser on Manjaro Linux

Example output:

kernel-headers.x86_64                            5.14.0-162.6.1.el9_1.0.1            @appstream                                     


Installing missing Linux Kernel headers on Rocky Linux is a simple process that can be accomplished by checking the currently installed kernel version, installing the corresponding kernel headers package, and verifying the installation. These steps should ensure that the necessary kernel headers are in place for building and installing specific software.

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