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

In the realm of Linux, managing the kernel is a fundamental aspect of system administration and development. This guide will demonstrate how to install Linux Kernel Headers on Rocky Linux 9 or 8. Understanding the significance of kernel headers is key for anyone delving into deeper Linux functionalities, particularly in customizing or compiling kernel modules. Kernel headers are essentially the bridge that allows your system’s software and hardware to communicate effectively.

Why Install Linux Kernel Headers?

  • Module Development: Essential for developing and compiling kernel modules.
  • System Compatibility: Ensures that system software is compatible with the kernel.
  • Custom Kernel Configuration: Vital for customizing or upgrading the Linux kernel.

Key Features of Kernel Headers in Rocky Linux:

  • Updated API: Provides the latest kernel functions and structures for software compatibility.
  • Enhanced Security: Critical for security patches and updates in kernel modules.
  • Optimized Performance: Enables efficient communication between hardware and the kernel for better performance.
  • Flexibility: Allows developers to tailor kernel behavior to specific hardware or software needs.

Installing Linux Kernel Headers on Rocky Linux is not just about keeping your system up-to-date; it’s about unlocking the full potential of your Linux environment. Whether you’re a system administrator, a developer, or a Linux enthusiast, this process is a stepping stone to a more controlled and customized Linux experience. With the headers in place, you can ensure that your system’s software and hardware are in perfect sync, leading to a more robust and efficient system.

Preparing to Install Linux Kernel Headers on Rocky Linux

Step 1: Update Rocky Linux

Before installing kernel headers, it’s imperative to update your Rocky Linux system. This ensures that your system, especially the Linux Kernel, is up-to-date. If the update includes kernel packages, a system restart is necessary to apply these updates. Use the following command to update your system:

sudo dnf upgrade --refresh

This command ensures that all the packages, including the kernel, are updated to the latest version, thereby maintaining system stability and security.

Step 2: Determining Your Current Linux Kernel Version

Before proceeding with the installation of kernel headers, identifying the version of the Linux Kernel your system is currently running is essential. This step is crucial for ensuring compatibility between your system’s kernel and the headers you are about to install. Run the following command in your terminal to check your kernel version:

uname -r

This command outputs the version of the kernel that your system is actively using. It is important to note down this version, as it will be a reference point in the installation process.

For instance, the output on my machine was:


In this example, “5.14.0-162.6.1.el9_1.0.1.x86_64” indicates the specific kernel version running on the system. Knowing this version is vital to ensure that you install the correct and compatible kernel headers for your system.

Install Linux Kernel Headers on Rocky Linux 9 or 8

Installing the Appropriate Kernel Headers

After determining your current Linux Kernel version, the next step is to install the kernel headers. These headers are crucial for system tasks such as developing kernel modules and ensuring software compatibility. On Rocky Linux, you can install the kernel headers tailored to your specific kernel version with the following command:

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

This command dynamically fetches and installs the kernel headers that correspond to your system’s current kernel version, as identified by uname -r. This ensures that the headers are perfectly matched with your kernel, maintaining system integrity and functionality.

Optional: Rebooting Your System

After the installation of kernel headers or any kernel-related packages, it’s a good practice to reboot your system. This step ensures that all changes are properly applied and the system is running with the latest configurations.

To reboot your system, use the command:


Rebooting is particularly important when there are significant kernel updates or changes, as it allows the system to start fresh with the new configurations. This step contributes to the stability and reliability of your system, especially after kernel modifications.

Verifying the Installation of Linux Kernel Headers on Rocky Linux

Confirming Kernel Headers Installation

Once you have installed the kernel headers on your Rocky Linux system, it’s crucial to verify the successful installation. This verification ensures that your system has the correct headers corresponding to its kernel version. To confirm the installation, execute the following command:

sudo dnf list installed | grep kernel-headers

This command lists all the kernel header packages installed on your system. The output should include the kernel headers package that you recently installed. It filters the extensive list to show only the items related to kernel headers, simplifying the verification process.

Example of Successful Installation Output

A successful installation is indicated by the appearance of the kernel headers package in the command output. An example of such output is:

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

In this example, kernel-headers.x86_64 5.14.0-162.6.1.el9_1.0.1 @appstream signifies that the kernel headers for the specific version 5.14.0-162.6.1.el9_1.0.1 are installed on the system. This output confirms that your system is now equipped with the necessary headers, which is crucial for tasks such as module compilation and kernel customization.


In this guide, we’ve successfully navigated through the essential steps to install Linux Kernel Headers on Rocky Linux. From updating your system and verifying your current kernel version to the actual installation and subsequent verification of the kernel headers, each step was geared towards enhancing your system’s compatibility and performance. It’s always recommended to keep your system updated and to regularly check the kernel version for any critical updates. Remember, these headers are key to a well-functioning Linux environment, especially if you’re involved in kernel module development or system customization.

Leave a Comment

Your Mastodon Instance
Share to...