From PCLinuxOShelp Knowledge Base

Jump to: navigation, search
  • Relevant to PCLinuxOS 2017.11 KDE/Plasma 5. However the basics will be relevant to other PCLinuxOS editions too.


This page deals with the types, installation and issues related to kernel in PCLinuxOS.


The Kernel is the most important component of PCLinuxOS. It is the middle man who facilitates various interactions between components of a computer such as hardware and applications. It is the fulcrum around which the whole operating system revolves.

Default kernel in PCLinuxOS

You can find out which kernel is running in your system by typing uname -r in a terminal window.

[xxx@localhost ~]$ uname -r
[xxx@localhost ~]$

Kernel versions

As development of Linux kernel proceeds new versions are released. Newer versions generally mean better hardware support and may be more responsive. If all of your hardware works with the existing kernel you may not need to change it. However sometimes other major software components (e.g. drivers or Xorg) may require a minimum kernel version in order to work properly. When this happens an announcement is made in the forum instructing users to update their kernel.

There are a number of kernel "branches" available (see for the current status). The latest stable branch is, as the name implies, the version of the kernel which has all the latest fixes, new functions and support for new hardware. There are other branches known as "LTS" (Long Term Support) branches. These are older versions of the kernel which can be used if the latest version proves problematic on older machines. These versions continue to have bug fixes and security updates applied but do not have the new functionality which can cause problems with older machines.

Installing a different kernel

It is important to note that the kernel is never updated as part of the the normal apt/Synaptic update process. This is because updating implies removal of the previous version. This would be bad news if the new kernel is not suitable for YOUR hardware! Instead, new kernels are added to the system (much like installing a new application). The new kernel is added to the boot menu so you can select it when the system boots.

  • Ensure your system is fully updated
  • Open Synaptic and click Reload to get the latest package list
  • Click the Search button and search for the keyword kernel-4. (The kernel(s) currently installed will have a solid box in the first column).


  • Select the desired new kernel and Mark for Installation and Apply.
  • Once Synaptic has finished you need to reboot to use the new kernel.
  • IMPORTANT! The first time you reboot after a new kernel it can take much longer to boot because various modules (e.g NVIDIA graphics drivers, Broadcom wireless drivers etc.) need to be rebuilt to work with the new kernel. You can monitor this process by pressing escape to dismiss the splash screen. Subsequent reboots will be normal.
  • In case of problems the older kernel is still installed and is available as a choice in the GRUB menu.


This shows a system initially installed with kernel version 4.14.15 which has had a later version (4.15.5) added.

Reasons to do a kernel update / change

  • Important security fixes
  • Better hardware recognition
  • Better performance
  • Miscellaneous - including but not limited to boredom with the existing kernel, adventurous lifestyle, need to fill lots of empty space in the harddrive etc.
Personal tools