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Linux mint MATE kernel updates needed?


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#1 rp88

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Posted 10 December 2017 - 12:20 PM

I've heard news recently about various vulnerabilities discovered in linux kernels, and so am updating my linux mint installation. But in the update manager there are some level 4 and level 5 updates (this is a 17.3 version of mint, I'm not sure how to upgrade it to 18.x without wiping it all) for "xorg-server(2:1.15.1-0ubuntu2.11)", "linux(3.13.0-137.186)" and "linux-firmware(1.127.24)" all bearing the red exclamation mark of a security patch. But I know that level 4 and 5 updates generally risk causing crashes or hardware incompatibilities so what is to be done? I've never tried to do any level 4 or 5 updates on mint but am wondering whether I am supposed to.

What is the general practice for keeping linux mint secure when a kernel vulnerability (which being a kernel problem surely affects all linux distros) gets reported in the news.

Edited by rp88, 10 December 2017 - 12:21 PM.

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#2 MadmanRB

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Posted 10 December 2017 - 12:40 PM

I would update the kernel.

The story of breakages come if you have certain hardware.

Got a old Nvidia or AMD gpu?

Regardless its safe enough to go with the level 4 and 5 updates in mint as long as you are aware what hardware you have.


Edited by MadmanRB, 10 December 2017 - 12:40 PM.

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#3 rp88

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Posted 10 December 2017 - 01:22 PM

I have an intel i3 chip, no GPU or graphics card, nothing from Nvidia or AMD.
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My systems:2 laptops, intel i3 processors, windows 8.1 installed on the hard-drive and linux mint 17.3 MATE installed to USB

#4 rp88

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Posted 10 December 2017 - 01:23 PM

I take it that the absolute worst case is that if I do these updates and they go wrong then I ruin my linux OS which is running off a USB, but my computer's inbuilt low level BIOS and firmware and such will not be altered, my windows install will keep working, and any linux USB I have which hasn't been given the problem update will also be fine to boot from. Is this correct?
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My systems:2 laptops, intel i3 processors, windows 8.1 installed on the hard-drive and linux mint 17.3 MATE installed to USB

#5 Al1000

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Posted 10 December 2017 - 02:24 PM

Worst case scenario is the new kernel won't work, and you'll have to revert to the previous one.

#6 MadmanRB

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Posted 10 December 2017 - 06:29 PM

Indeed and if you're only running integrated Intel Graphics you should be just fine

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#7 rp88

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Posted 11 December 2017 - 04:31 PM

The fact that one of the updates calls itself "firmware" doesn't mean it's going to change the firmware of any of my internal hardware (the harddrive's firmware, the CPUs, the BIOS/UEFI, the ethernet port's firmware or the USB ports' firmware...), it just means it's the lowest level bit of the new kernel?
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My systems:2 laptops, intel i3 processors, windows 8.1 installed on the hard-drive and linux mint 17.3 MATE installed to USB

#8 Al1000

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Posted 11 December 2017 - 04:39 PM

I am not sure what you mean by "the lowest level bit of the new kernel," but only your operating system and its related software will be updated.

It will not change any of your hardware's firmware.

#9 MadmanRB

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Posted 11 December 2017 - 04:42 PM

Indeed, it will just change things on the OS/kernel level


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#10 Vectron

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Posted 21 December 2017 - 03:35 PM

Worst case scenario is the new kernel won't work, and you'll have to revert to the previous one.

This happened to me after trying to update the kernel to v4.x on an older Mint installation.

Suddenly my Cinnamon started crashing each time I booted, so I had to use the older kernel again.

One thing I dislike about Mint is how they make it difficult to upgrade and just tell you to reinstall instead.

That's why I prefer to stick to Ubuntu LTS releases with custom desktops i.e. Ubuntu Mate.

 

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#11 rp88

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Posted 27 December 2017 - 06:02 PM

For clarity, if a new kernel does cause a problem how does one roll back to the previous one?
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My systems:2 laptops, intel i3 processors, windows 8.1 installed on the hard-drive and linux mint 17.3 MATE installed to USB

#12 SuperSapien64

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Posted 27 December 2017 - 06:22 PM

I don't mean to interrupt but this is the first I'm hearing of this. Would a GForce GTX760 be considered old and vulnerable?


Edited by SuperSapien64, 27 December 2017 - 06:24 PM.


#13 NickAu

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Posted 27 December 2017 - 11:30 PM

 

For clarity, if a new kernel does cause a problem how does one roll back to the previous one?

 

After you install the Kernel you will need to reboot the PC.

 

When the PC boots you will be presented with a screen similar to this, use the arrow keys to select the Kernel you want and hit enter.

Linux-Kernel-4.14-Ubuntu.png


Edited by NickAu, 27 December 2017 - 11:41 PM.


#14 rp88

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Posted 28 December 2017 - 11:28 AM

Linux doesn't seem to like "restarting" on my pc, might be because it is running on a USB not the internal hard-drive or it might be because my PC's BIOS has some absurd issue with linux. The one time I restarted while in linux before my PC rebooted and then loaded up some fast scrolling error text (I don't remember what it said), all I could do was hold down the power button to turn it off. For me it seems at present I have to shut down linux and then turn the pc on to boot it again.
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My systems:2 laptops, intel i3 processors, windows 8.1 installed on the hard-drive and linux mint 17.3 MATE installed to USB

#15 NickAu

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Posted 28 December 2017 - 03:43 PM

 

For me it seems at present I have to shut down linux and then turn the pc on to boot it again.

Strangely enough I have a PC like that, So I just gave up hitting the restart button in favor of shutting down and rebooting.






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