How to Upgrade to Linux 4.8 in Ubuntu 16.04.2

I had read from several news sources that Ubuntu 16.04.2 would come with Linux 4.8. My system was upgraded from Ubuntu 16.04.1 to Ubuntu 16.04.2 this week-end, but I still had Linux 4.4.

So I wondered why that was, and eventually found my answer on Reddit thanks to EndofLineLF user:

If it isn’t a new 16.04.2 installation then you won’t have newer kernel.

If your install started as 16.04 or 16.04.1 then with all updates installed “lsb_release” will display 16.04.2 as version because that’s what you have.

The switch to HWE (Hardware Enablement Stack) was never automatic. So if you want newer kernel you have to install it manually.
sudo apt-get install –install-recommends xserver-xorg-hwe-16.04

This will also install the new HWE kernel because it is recommended for that package.

Upgrading to the new kernel is completely optional, and Linux 4.4 will still get security updates, but I did it anyway, since I had an issue with the current Linux 4.4.62 kernel, although a fix with the next 4.4.63 release later this month. Anyway, I went ahead with:

After a reboot, I could confirm linux 4.8.0-34 kernel was installed:

If you run a Ubuntu 16.04 server installation, and want to upgrade to Linux 4.8, you may want to instead run:

One important note: If you switch from Linux 4.4 (GA) to Linux 4.8 (HWE), you’ll lose support for Canonical Livepatch Service.

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14 Replies to “How to Upgrade to Linux 4.8 in Ubuntu 16.04.2”

  1. @Stefan M
    It’s very common for distributions to ship with kernels that are not supported by anymore. In that case, they just have to provide kernel support themselves and backpot fixes, etc. Ubuntu 14.04 LTS shipped with kernel 3.13, for example, which never was a longterm kernel on Yet, Canonical still provides support for that kernel. This happens for other packages as well.

  2. The HWE stack caused my computer with Intel Haswell i915 graphics to boot to a black screen. The commonly suggested “nomodeset” grub option locked my display at a very low resolution. I had to uninstall the 4.8 kernel and HWE xserver packages and reinstall the GA xserver packages with “apt install –reinstall ubuntu-desktop”.

  3. @Stane1983
    When you install from the ISO, you’ll get the HWE kernel. So if I had installed Ubuntu 16.04.2 ISO, I’d have get Linux 4.18, but upgrading is different as you keep the LTS kernel, which for Xenial is 4.4.

  4. @zgoda
    I ran the two commands above. Ubuntu 16.04.2 is not available for download as ISO yet.
    Maybe they pushed it on Feb 9, then decided to pull it out?
    There have been numerous delays for Ubuntu 16.04.2, maybe it’s just another one.

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