Canonical Switches To Rolling Kernel Model For Ubuntu On Amazon AWS

In a new blog post, Francis Ginther, Engineer Manager at Canonical (maker of Ubuntu), has announced the adoption of a rolling kernel model in the Ubuntu 18.04 LTS Amazon Machine Image (AMI). In case you didn’t know, Canonical already uses this model in other cloud environments to provide the latest upstream bug fixes and performance improvements.

The rolling kernel will make the default linux-aws kernel, which is based on a 4.15, switch to a new kernel based on 5.3 of the interim release. Since the next long term release Ubuntu 20.04 is due for release on April 23, Ubuntu 19.10 is currently an interim release having a 5.3 based kernel.

How To Get A New Rolling Kernel?

As of now, if you roll your kernel, you’ll shift to 5.3 kernel which is currently available for preview as the linux-aws-edge kernel. Hence, you must use it in your non-production deployments.

Now to get the rolling kernel, you can either update your package or launch the latest AMI that will include a newer kernel. Here, I’ll demonstrate how to install rolling kernels in the existing Ubuntu AWS.

To begin, first log in to your remote Ubuntu instance on AWS and check kernel version using the command:

uname -r

Next, update the packages, then install the linux-aws-edge kernel and restart the Ubuntu instance:

sudo apt update
sudo apt install -y linux-aws-edge
sudo reboot

Lastly, you can check the kernel version which will hopefully show v5.3 (if your installation finishes successfully):

uname -r

What If You Don’t Want To Have A Rolling Kernel?

If you want to create a new instance or update packages while sticking to kernel 4.15, you can run the following command:

sudo apt update
sudo apt install linux-aws-lts-18.04