Chapter 37. Manually Upgrading the Kernel

The Red Hat Enterprise Linux kernel is custom built by the Red Hat kernel team to ensure its integrity and compatibility with supported hardware. Before Red Hat releases a kernel, it must first pass a rigorous set of quality assurance tests.

Red Hat Enterprise Linux kernels are packaged in RPM format so that they are easy to upgrade and verify using the Red Hat Update Agent, or the up2date command. The Red Hat Update Agent automatically queries the Red Hat Network servers and determines which packages need to be updated on your machine, including the kernel. This chapter is only useful for those individuals that require manual updating of kernel packages, without using the up2date command.


Please note, that building a custom kernel is not supported by the Red Hat Global Services Support team, and therefore is not explored in this manual.


Use of up2date is highly recommended by Red Hat for installing upgraded kernels.

For more information on Red Hat Network, the Red Hat Update Agent, and up2date, refer to Chapter 17 Red Hat Network.

37.1. Overview of Kernel Packages

Red Hat Enterprise Linux contains the following kernel packages (some may not apply to your architecture):


The kernel-source package has been removed and replaced with an RPM that can only be retrieved from Red Hat Network. This *.src.rpm must then be rebuilt locally using the rpmbuild command. Refer to the latest distribution Release Notes, including all updates, at for more information on obtaining and installing the kernel source package.