Install XanMod Kernel on Pop!_OS 20.04

XanMod is a free, open-source general-purpose Linux Kernel alternative to the stock kernel with Pop!_OS 20.04. It features custom settings and new features and is built to provide a responsive and smooth desktop experience, especially for new hardware.

XanMod is popular amongst Linux Gaming, streaming, and ultra-low latency requirements and often boasts the latest Linux Kernels, having multiple branches to choose from the stable, edge, and development.

For more information on XanMod Kernel before installing, visit the XanMod Kernel features information page.

XanMod only supports x86_64 processor architecture.

In the following tutorial, you will learn how to import the XanMod repository and install the XanMod Kernel on your Pop!_OS 20.04 LTS operating system.

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Prerequisites

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

Update Operating System

Update your Pop!_OS 20.04 operating system to make sure all existing packages are up to date:

sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade

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@popos ~]$ sudo whoami
root

To set up an existing or new sudo account, visit our tutorial on adding a User to Sudoers on Pop!_OS.

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

su

The tutorial will utilize the terminal for the installation found in Activities > Show Applications > Terminal.

Example:

How to Install XanMod Kernel on Pop!_OS 20.04

Import the XanMod Repository

The first task is to import the XanMod repository. This can be done in several ways, but the tutorial will use the apt package manager’s terminal to simplify things.

First, import the repository using the following command.

echo 'deb http://deb.xanmod.org releases main' | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/xanmod-kernel.list

Verify the command worked using the grep command.

grep xanmod /etc/apt/sources.list.d/xanmod-kernel.list

Example output:

deb http://deb.xanmod.org releases main

With the repository successfully imported, the next task is to import the GPG key using the following command.

wget -qO - https://dl.xanmod.org/gpg.key | sudo apt-key --keyring /etc/apt/trusted.gpg.d/xanmod-kernel.gpg add -

Example output if successful:

OK

Next, update your APT repository source listing to reflect the new addition.

sudo apt update

The repository typically has newer packages for dependencies already installed, as you may have noticed.

Before continuing, run the apt upgrade command.

sudo apt upgrade

Example:

How to Install XanMod Kernel on Pop!_OS 20.04

Type Y, then press the ENTER KEY to proceed with the updates.

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Install XanMod Kernel on Pop!_OS 20.04

With the XanMod repository installed and up to date, you can install the Linux kernel from XanMod.

As mentioned n the start of the tutorial, there are three branches to choose from. At the time of the tutorial, the stable has version 5.15 that is considered safe, or in other words stable, the edge has the latest 5.15 but can be used safely, and development has the latest unstable in development Linux Kernel 5.15 kernel.

In the future, these Linux Kernel versions will change to Linux Kernel 5.16, 5.17, etc.

The tutorial will go over installing all three, but it’s recommended to stick to stable and edge, do not use development unless you know what you are doing.

To install XanMod stable:

sudo apt install linux-xanmod

To install XanMod edge:

sudo apt install linux-xanmod-edge

To install XanMod development:

sudo apt install linux-xanmod-tt

Example output from (edge):

How to Install XanMod Kernel on Pop!_OS 20.04

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

Once the chosen repository Linux kernel has been installed, you will need to reboot your system to complete the installation.

sudo reboot

Once you have returned to your system, verify the installation.

At the time of the tutorial, the edge branch contained Linux kernel 5.15

hostnamectl

Or you can use the cat version command.

cat /proc/version

Example output:

How to Install XanMod Kernel on Pop!_OS 20.04
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How to Update XanMod Linux Kernel

To keep the Linux kernel you installed with XanMod up to date, and you will run the standard apt update and upgrade commands if you installed XanMod using APT, which the tutorial has shown.

To check for updates.

sudo apt update

If an upgrade is available.

sudo apt upgrade

Alternatively, users on stable can upgrade to edge by using the installation command. Ideally, do not swap too frequently, and this can cause issues.

How to Remove (Uninstall) XanMod Linux Kernel

To remove XanMod, use the following command.

To remove XanMod stable:

sudo apt remove linux-xanmod --purge

To remove XanMod edge:

sudo apt remove linux-xanmod-edge --purge

To remove XanMod development:

sudo apt remove linux-xanmod-tt --purge

This will entirely remove all traces of XanMod possible and unused dependencies.

Ideally, you can remove the repository as well.

sudo rm /etc/apt/sources.list.d/xanmod-kernel.list

Alternatively, you may need to remove the XanMod with the following command.

Note, you will need to use the exact name of the Linux image and header package. This can be found by using the following command.

dpkg --list | grep `uname -r`

Example output:

How to Install XanMod Kernel on Pop!_OS 20.04

The names shown in the output are the ones you need to remove that involve the XanMod Kernel.

Example only:

sudo apt-get remove linux-headers-5.15.7-xanmod1 linux-image-5.15.7-xanmod1 --purge

Remember to replace the 5.15.7 with the version printed out in the dpkg –list command.

Example output:

How to Install XanMod Kernel on Pop!_OS 20.04

Warning, run the following command to make sure you have an existing Linux Kernel installed.

To check or re-install Pop!_OS 20.04 LTS Generic Kernel:

 sudo apt install --install-recommends linux-generic 

By default, the default kernel should be installed.

Example output:

linux-generic is already the newest version (5.15.5.76051505.202111250933~1638201579~20.04~09f1aa7).

Failure to check or do this will result in your system being unbootable and create a headache.

Next, update-grub.

sudo update-grub2 && sudo update-initframfs -u

Now restart your PC to finalize the removal of XanMod Kernel.

sudo reboot

Once you have returned to your system, verify the installation.

hostnamectl

Or you can use the cat version command.

cat /proc/version

Example output:

How to Install XanMod Kernel on Pop!_OS 20.04

As shown above, you have rolled back to the default Linux kernel that Pop!_OS 20.04 came with, thus successfully removing XanMod from your system.

Comments and Conclusion

In the tutorial, you have learned how to install XanMod on Pop!_OS 20.04. XanMod is designed for desktop users with the latest hardware, but this can be installed on any Pop!_OS desktop currently supported. However, it’s advised to research before upgrading, and it is ill-advised to use it on critical or production-type systems.

One of the best features of using XanMod is that when the next Linux Kernel comes around, it is included on development/edge very quickly. Hence, it is worth the look, especially if you are into Linux gaming.

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