Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Is there a difference between kernel version and distro version?

For an example, I'm using Debian Squeeze and the kernel version by default is 2.6.32-5-amd64.

Does this mean that Squeeze only uses that kernel and the next version of Debian will use a newer kernel?

Will there ever be a newer kernel than the distro version and if so, should you upgrade?

share|improve this question
I think Debian is quite conservative with kernel updates, but they certainly have to keep up kernel security updates, so the version number will definitely change. However, I think the major version numbers will stay the same and they will just backport all the fixes to that specific version. – Jan 27 '12 at 1:11
up vote 0 down vote accepted

Squeeze only uses kernel 2.6.32, but updates are issued to fix things like security bugs. (These are patched versions of 2.6.32, not whole new kernel version numbers.)

The reason why the stable release doesn't change kernel versions is that newer versions may behave slightly differently or have different sets of bugs, so a system that's working with 2.6.32 might not work correctly with a newer version. It's not really likely, but the point of a stable release is that you can trust it not to change out from under you.

Unofficial packages of newer kernels are available for those who want them, from backports for example.

share|improve this answer

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .