EBC Exercise 22 Updating the Kernel

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thumb‎ Embedded Linux Class by Mark A. Yoder

The kernel can be easily updated with one command. Here's how to do it.

Checking kernel version

First see which version of the kernel you are running.

bone$ uname -a
Linux ece434 4.19.94-ti-r50 #1buster SMP PREEMPT Mon Aug 24 23:03:55 UTC 2020 armv7l GNU/Linux

Next see what's out there.

bone$ cd cd /opt/scripts/tools/
bone$ sudo ./update_kernel.sh --bone-kernel
info: checking archive
2020-09-21 17:56:56 URL:https://rcn-ee.com/repos/latest/buster-armhf/LATEST-omap-psp [228/228] -> "LATEST-omap-psp" [1]
Kernel Options:
ABI:1 LTS44 4.4.145-bone23
ABI:1 LTS49 4.9.178-bone15
ABI:1 LTS414 4.14.198-bone40
ABI:1 LTS419 4.19.142-bone56
ABI:1 LTS54 5.4.61-bone35
ABI:1 STABLE 5.7.19-bone19
ABI:1 TESTING 5.8.10-bone16
ABI:1 EXPERIMENTAL 5.9.0-rc6-bone4
Kernel version options:
LTS414: --lts-4_14
LTS419: --lts-4_19
LTS54: --lts-5_4
STABLE: --stable
TESTING: --testing
Please pass one of the above kernel options to update_kernel.sh


Suppose you want to run the 5.4 kernel.

bone$ sudo ./update_kernel.sh --lts-5_4

Wait until it's installed, then

bone$ reboot

Once rebooted make sure you are running the new kernel.

bone$ uname -a

Seeing which kernels are installed

You can have multiple kernels install at the same time. They are saved in /boot

bone$ cd /boot
bone$ ls 
config-4.14.108-ti-r137      initrd.img-4.19.94-ti-r50    System.map-5.4.52-ti-r17  vmlinuz-4.19.94-ti-r50
config-4.19.94-ti-r50        initrd.img-5.4.52-ti-r17     uboot                     vmlinuz-5.4.52-ti-r17
config-5.4.52-ti-r17         SOC.sh                       uEnv.txt
dtbs                         System.map-4.14.108-ti-r137  uEnv.txt.orig
initrd.img-4.14.108-ti-r137  System.map-4.19.94-ti-r50    vmlinuz-4.14.108-ti-r137

Here I have three kernel versions installed. The file uEnv.txt tells which kernel to use on the next reboot. Here are the first few lines:

  1 #Docs: http://elinux.org/Beagleboard:U-boot_partitioning_layout_2.0
  3 # uname_r=4.14.108-ti-r137
  4 uname_r=4.19.94-ti-r50
  5 # uname_r=5.4.52-ti-r17
  6 #uuid=

Lines 3-5 list the various kernels, and the uncommented one on line 4 is the one that will be used next time. You will have to add your own uname's. Get the names from the files in /boot. Be careful, if you mistype the name your Bone won't boot.


If you do mistype that name and your Bone won't boot. Do the following

  • Turn the Bone's power off.
  • Remove the SD card.
  • Put SD card is your host computer.
  • cd to /boot on the card.
bone$ cd /media/$USER/rootfs/boot
  • Use your favorite editor to edit uEnv.txt and correct it.

thumb‎ Embedded Linux Class by Mark A. Yoder