XanMod is a free, open-source general-purpose Linux Kernel alternative to the stock kernel with Debian 11 Bullseye. 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 before landing on most distributions. Most desktop users are not even into gaming but want a new kernel for better hardware support, making XanMod one of the more popular choices.
For more information on XanMod Kernel before installing, visit the XanMod Kernel features information page.
XanMod Kernel only supports x86_64 processor architecture.
XanMod Kernel DOES NOT support secure boot!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
In the following tutorial, you will learn how to install XanMod Kernel on Debian 11 Bullseye using the command line terminal with various options such as branches to install and how to update and remove the custom kernel with restoring the default version.
Table of Contents
Before proceeding, update your system using the following command to ensure no conflicts during the installation.
sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade
Install Required Packages
The following dependencies will need to be installed. Most of these packages would already be present on your system, but running the command can help ensure they’re installed.
sudo apt install software-properties-common apt-transport-https wget ca-certificates gnupg2 debian-keyring -y
Import the XanMod Repository
The first task is to import the XanMod repository. This can be done several ways, but the tutorial will use the apt package manager’s terminal to simplify things.
First, import the GPG key using the following command.
sudo wget -O- https://dl.xanmod.org/gpg.key | gpg --dearmor | sudo tee /usr/share/keyrings/xanmod.gpg
Next, import the repository using the following command.
echo 'deb [signed-by=/usr/share/keyrings/xanmod.gpg] 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
Next, update your APT repository source listing to reflect the new addition.
sudo apt update
The repository typically has newer packages for installed dependencies, as you may have noticed.
Before continuing, run the apt upgrade command.
sudo apt upgrade
Install XanMod Kernel
With the XanMod repository installed and up to date, you can install the Linux kernel from XanMod. In the future, these Linux Kernel versions will change to Linux Kernel 5.18, 5.19, 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.
Install XanMod stable:
sudo apt install linux-xanmod
Install XanMod Edge (Recommended for Latest Mainline Linux Kernel):
sudo apt install linux-xanmod-edge
Install XanMod Task Type CPU Sched (TT):
sudo apt install linux-xanmod-tt
Install XanMod Latest (RT) Kernel
sudo apt install linux-xanmod-rt
Install XanMod LTS Kernel
sudo apt install linux-xanmod-lts
Once the chosen repository Linux kernel has been installed, you will need to reboot your system to complete the installation.
Once you have returned to your system, verify the installation.
At the time of the tutorial, the edge branch contained Linux kernel 5.18, but this will change almost the same day a new Linux kernel is released, such as Linux kernel 5.19, 5.20, and so on.
Verify the kernel installed by using the following cat command.
Alternatively, install Neofetch to print out your system specs.
sudo apt install neofetch -y
Next, use the neofetch command to print your system specs to reveal the kernel version.
How to Update/Upgrade XanMod Kernel
To keep the Linux kernel, you installed with XanMod up to date, 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
How to Remove (Uninstall) XanMod Kernel
To remove XanMod, use the following command that suites the version of the XanMod kernel you installed.
Remove XanMod Stable
sudo apt autoremove linux-xanmod --purge -y
Remove XanMod Edge
sudo apt autoremove linux-xanmod-edge --purge -y
Install XanMod Task Type CPU Sched (TT)
sudo apt autoremove linux-xanmod-tt --purge -y
Remove XanMod Latest (RT) Kernel
sudo apt autoremove linux-xanmod-rt --purge -y
Remove XanMod LTS Kernel
sudo apt autoremove linux-xanmod-lts --purge -y
Ideally, you can remove the repository as well.
sudo rm /etc/apt/sources.list.d/xanmod-kernel.list
And for users that will never re-install XanMod again, best to remove the GPG key for good practice.
sudo rm /usr/share/keyrings/xanmod.gpg
Once using these commands, you will see that the XanMod kernel is not removed entirely, so use the following steps, which you can do before rebooting your machine to begin with.
First, we need to use the exact name of the Linux image and header package of XanMod.
This can be found by using the following dpkg –list command.
dpkg --list | grep `uname -r`
The names shown in the output are the ones you need to remove that involve the XanMod Kernel, which should be displayed only.
sudo apt autoremove linux-image-5.18.*-xanmod1* linux-headers-5.18.*-xanmod1* --purge
Remember to replace the 5.18.0 with the version printed out in the dpkg –list command.
Alternatively, you could take a shortcut using this command, but be careful not to remove any existing kernels of the same version. Given Debian Bullseye does not ship with the newest kernels, this should be safe to use.
sudo apt autoremove linux-image-5.*.*-xanmod1* linux-headers-5.*.*-xanmod1* --purge
Type Y, then press the ENTER KEY to proceed with the removal.
I recommend running the following command to ensure that you have installed a kernel, just in case you have wiped all kernels from your system. This will ensure you will not have any issues when you re-boot.
sudo apt install linux-image-generic
In most cases, this should be installed already.
Next, update grub and initramfs for extra safety.
sudo update-initramfs -u && sudo update-grub
This should result in the original Linux Kernel in the output terminal messages.
Now restart your PC to finalize the removal of XanMod. If you are in the terminal, you can quickly do this using the following command.
Once you have returned to your system, verify the installation rollback.
For users that installed Neofetch, use the command to print out your system specs again.
As shown above, you have rolled back to the default Linux kernel, thus successfully removing XanMod from your system.
Comments and Conclusion
XanMod is designed for desktop users with the latest hardware, but this can be installed on any Debian desktop currently supported. However, it is 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.