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devinWhalen 01-05-2007 08:31 AM

Reverting from a kernel upgrade
I am having a problem with my sound on my Debian system. The problem is this is my work computer. My company will let you run linux but you have to use their kernel and if you change anything then the systems team won't support you when you have problems. I have been looking into this and the problem seems to be that ALSA is not compiled into my kernel. I have looked around and a lot of people have said either compile ALSA into your kernel or upgrade to the 2.6 kernel which has it already compiled into it. I figured I would try the first option but the only problem is that the company's kernel doesn't have the kernel source so I can't re-compile ALSA into it. So it seems my only option is to upgrade my kernel. What I want to know is, if there are any problems after the upgrade is it easy to revert back? Will it save the previous version of my kernel to boot into? I don't want to screw up my work computer.

Keep in mind that I don't know a lot about kernels. I have upgraded a kernel before but it seemed really easy with apt-get.

Thanks for any help.

Here are my computer stats:
Kernel 2.4.32-workstation-p4 (which I think is the companies specific kernel)
i686 running Debian.

weibullguy 01-05-2007 08:45 AM for the source code for kernel 2.4.32. Maybe e-mail that to the company's systems team and ask them to compile a 2.4.32 kernel with ALSA support.

If you have root privileges, you can therefore edit grub.conf or the LILO configuration file. Compile a shiny new 2.6 series kernel following one of a plethora of guides for Debian. Add that kernel to the GRUB (or LILO) menu, voila. Select your new kernel next time you boot. The old, company kernel is still in the /boot directory and can still be used.

devinWhalen 01-05-2007 09:01 AM

Thanks for your reply. So, if I do an apt-get to upgrade to the new kernel then the old one will still be there? I actually have lilo installed so I will just edit lilo.conf to have an option to point to the old kernel and the new.

thanks for the help.

weibullguy 01-05-2007 10:26 AM

Ooops. I misunderstood, I thought you were going to compile your own 2.6 kernel.

I don't use a package management system that installs the kernel for you. I have no experience with apt or yum or the likes. IMHO, if apt blows away the old kernel, then it must be a pretty crappy package management system. I would expect it to leave the old kernel alone. However, I would verify with a Debian user that it leaves the old kernel untouched.

rickh 01-05-2007 11:00 AM

Apt will leave the old kernel intact, adding the new one to your menu.lst file. You can use whichever you prefer. Adding a new "anything" to a Sarge system from unauthorized sources is risky, tho.

I would definitely get the new kernel from

sundialsvcs 01-05-2007 12:52 PM

It is customary for kernel-updates to keep the earlier kernels around for precisely that purpose.

Nonetheless, it seems odd to me that you want to update the kernel on your employer's machine. I'm not sure that's a groovy idea. At the very least, if the I.T. department winds up having to come in to fix your mess, so to speak, that won't be HTWFAIP [How To Win Friends And Influence People].

Originally Posted by TRVTH
That which is technically possible is not always politically expedient.

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