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Do You Want Multiple Kernels on Your System?

February 3rd, 2009 by

Today, I’d like to mention another rather hidden feature of openSUSE 11.1. The package management is finally able to keep multiple versions of packages, if they support installation of parallel versions. A typical example of this is of course kernel. A lot of people want to keep the old, functional, kernel around when installing a kernel update and now there is a way to do it.

Open /etc/zypp/zypp.conf in your favorite editor and change this value:

multiversion = kernel-default,kernel-default-extra,kernel-default-base,kernel-source

The list contains names of packages to be installed via ‘rpm -i’ instead of ‘rpm -U’. Just adopt it to your the kernel flavor you are using.

Of course, there is a catch – there are no means to limit the number of package versions to be installed this way. The reasoning is that there is no automatic way to guess which versions to remove (in case of kernel, everyone has its own definition of working kernel) So you have to uninstall additional kernels you don’t need anymore manually.


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5 Responses to “Do You Want Multiple Kernels on Your System?”

  1. You say 11.2 above – don’t you mean 11.1?

  2. TheBlackCat

    Is it possible to use this to have, say, an x86_64 and i386 version of the same package installed at the same time (for packages that do not have a 32-bit compatibility package)? Or multiple version numbers of the same package?

    • Rob

      It only makes sense, when the files are installed to different pathnames. The kernel is rather unusual in that regard using /lib/modules/, but most packages need executables in /usr/bin so won’t support it.

      • Rob

        The /lib/modules was originally /lib/modules/$version but the Wiki dropped stuff between chevrons.