Linux kernel 5.14 is out and is famous for testing 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.
Table of Contents
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.
- Recommended OS: Debian 11 Bullseye
- User account: A user account with sudo privilages or root access (su command).
Updating Operating System
Update your Debian 11 Bullseye operating system to make sure all existing packages are up to date:
sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade
Root or Sudo Access
By default, when you create your account at startup with Debian compared to other distributions, it does not automatically receive sudoers status. You must either have access to the root password to use the su command or visit our tutorial on How to Add a User to Sudoers on Debian.
Install 5.14 Kernel
Add the Unstable Repository to Sources.list
To install the 5.14 Kernel using APT, first, open your /etc/apt/sources.list file:
sudo nano /etc/apt/sources.list
Next, add the unstable repository to the file.
deb http://deb.debian.org/debian unstable main contrib non-free deb-src http://deb.debian.org/debian unstable main contrib non-free
Now save the file CTRL+O, then exit CTRL+X.
Create APT Pinning File for Bullseye & Unstable Packages
Next, an easy solution is to use apt-pinning to avoid having different version branches causing your system prompting for updates from the experimental repository. Open the following file using a text editor.
sudo nano /etc/apt/preferences
Next, add the following.
Package: * Pin: release a=bullseye Pin-Priority: 500 Package: linux-image-amd64 Pin: release a=unstable Pin-Priority: 1000 Package: * Pin: release a=unstable Pin-Priority: 100
The order goes all updates are preferenced to Bullseye with a higher score (500) than unstable (100), so you are not prompted on various packages to be updated from the unstable repository. However, to make it easy to keep the kernel up to date when you run the apt update command for your standard Bullseye packages, the example above has set linux-image-amd64 as a high priority (1000) using the unstable repository above any other source for that package only.
Now save the file CTRL+O, then exit CTRL+X.
Install or Upgrade to Linux Kernel 5.14
Next, update your repository.
sudo apt update
You will notice you have a package to update.
1 package can be upgraded. Run 'apt list --upgradable' to see it.
Run the apt upgrade command to begin updating to Linux Kernel 5.14.
sudo apt upgrade
Reading package lists... Done Building dependency tree... Done Reading state information... Done Calculating upgrade... Done The following NEW packages will be installed: linux-image-5.14.0-1-amd64 The following packages will be upgraded: linux-image-amd64 1 upgraded, 1 newly installed, 0 to remove and 0 not upgraded. Need to get 63.2 MB of archives. After this operation, 375 MB of additional disk space will be used. Do you want to continue? [Y/n]
Type “Y,” then press the “ENTER KEY” to proceed with the installation.
Once completed, reboot your system for the new 5.14 kernel to activate.
sudo reboot now
Once logged back in, open your terminal and type the following command to verify the installation.
sudo uname -r
As above, kernel 5.14 is installed. Alternative, you can run the apt-cache policy command for more information:
sudo apt-cache policy linux-image-amd64
linux-image-amd64: Installed: 5.14.6-3 Candidate: 5.14.6-3 Version table: *** 5.14.6-3 1000 100 http://deb.debian.org/debian unstable/main amd64 Packages 100 /var/lib/dpkg/status 5.10.46-5 500 500 http://security.debian.org/debian-security bullseye-security/main amd64 Packages 5.10.46-4 990 990 http://ftp.au.debian.org/debian bullseye/main amd64 Packages
As above, the kernel build is at “5.14.6-3”. Any new updates that arrive will automatically be seen when you run the apt update command to check for updates for the rest of your Debian 11 Bullseye repository packages.
Comments and Conclusion
You have learned how to install the latest 5.14 kernel on your Debian 11 Bullseye in the tutorial. Note, if your system is a production server, it would be advised to use the existing kernel that ships with Debian 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.