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Chapter 2. Updating kernel with yum

The following sections bring information about the Linux kernel provided and maintained by Red Hat (Red Hat kernel), and how to keep the Red Hat kernel updated. As a consequence, the operating system will have all the latest bug fixes, performance enhancements, and patches ensuring compatibility with new hardware.

2.1. What is the kernel

The kernel is a core part of a Linux operating system, which manages the system resources, and provides interface between hardware and software applications. The Red Hat kernel is a custom-built kernel based on the upstream Linux mainline kernel that Red Hat engineers further develop and harden with a focus on stability and compatibility with the latest technologies and hardware.

Before Red Hat releases a new kernel version, the kernel needs to pass a set of rigorous quality assurance tests.

The Red Hat kernels are packaged in the RPM format so that they are easy to upgrade and verify by the yum package manager.


Kernels that have not been compiled by Red Hat are not supported by Red Hat.

2.2. What is yum

This section refers to description of the yum package manager.

2.3. Updating the kernel

The following procedure describes how to update the kernel using the yum package manager.


  1. To update the kernel, use the following:

    # yum update kernel

    This command updates the kernel along with all dependencies to the latest available version.

  2. Reboot your system for the changes to take effect.

When upgrading from RHEL 7 to RHEL 8, follow relevant sections of the Upgrading from RHEL 7 to RHEL 8 document.

2.4. Installing the kernel

The following procedure describes how to install new kernels using the yum package manager.


  • To install a specific kernel version, use the following:

    # yum install kernel-{version}