Debian provides a very simple approach to upgrading (or downgrading) kernels. Kernels are simply packaged as Debian packages and installed in the usual way (see Section ??).
Note that Debian treats kernel versions as different packages. Thus, installing kernel-image-2.4.9-1-686-smp installs a different package to kernel-image-2.4.6-1-686-smp. You can have multiple kernels installed at any time, however only one kernel is ever chosen at boot time (and you can have the choice, although a default will be chosen each boot). The advantage of this is that you can be confident to install a new (perhaps experimental) version of a kernel and reboot into that version, but always be assured that you can go back to a previous version if there are problems with the newer version. Old versions hang around until you explicitly remove them.
It should also be noted that within specific package versions (e.g.,
kernel-image-2.4.9-1-686-smp) there are also normal Debian package
versions (e.g., 2.6.9-2). Potentially, you may be installing an update
of a currently running kernel, as in updating
kernel-image-2.4.9-1-686-smp from version 2.6.9-1 to
2.6.9-2. Some complications can arise when installing an update of
the current version of a kernel. A message may
appear indicating that you are upgrading the current kernel and the
modules will be overwritten. As the message will indicate, you should
reboot your computer as soon as possible, since these modules are
probably currently being used by the kernel!
Installed 12 November 2004 as package
kernel-image-2.6.9-1-686-smp. Digital camera USB
connection and USB Flash drive fail to be recognised as previously:
Plug in the camera and dmesg gives:
usb 1-1: new full speed USB device using address 5 ubb: device 5 capacity nsec 246017 bsize 512 ubb: was not changed /dev/ub/b: p1
kernel-image-2.6.7-1-686-smp dmesg reported:
usb 1-1: new full speed USB device using address 4 scsi4 : SCSI emulation for USB Mass Storage devices Vendor: hp Model: photosmart 320 Rev: 100 Type: Direct-Access ANSI SCSI revision: 02 SCSI device sdc: 246017 512-byte hdwr sectors (126 MB) sdc: assuming Write Enabled sdc: assuming drive cache: write through /dev/scsi/host4/bus0/target0/lun0: p1 Attached scsi removable disk sdc at scsi4, channel 0, id 0, lun 0 USB Mass Storage device found at 4
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