Update time for Ubuntu: Last version of Linux kernel 5.19.17 hits

Only just installed? You may need another upgrade all the same

Linux kernel 5.19.17 is here, the last of the version 5 series, as used in the current release of Ubuntu.

Guardian of the stable Linux kernel Greg Kroah-Hartman put out the update yesterday. It's a standard point-release but fixes a lot of minor bugs in kernel 5.19, released at the end of July.

Two things make this worth the effort. One is that this is the last release of Linux 5.x. Version 5.19 is succeeded by kernel 6.0, which was released earlier this month, so even if version 6.0 isn't a particularly big change, it still means upgrade time is here.

All of this matters because Ubuntu 22.10 uses kernel 5.19. Kernel 6.0 came out on October 2, while Ubuntu "Kinetic Kudu" was released on October 20, just 18 days later. In short, it isn't long enough to test and integrate a new version, so it shipped with kernel 5.19, even though it was just five days from end-of-life.

It's possible that some show-stopper of a vulnerability in kernel 5.19 might compel Ubuntu to push out a major version kernel update to the current short-term release. If so, even newly installed Ubuntu 22.10 boxes could need an upgrade. But don't panic: kernel updates are relatively routine events. If it happens, this shouldn't break anyone's computers – it would just be a little more visible than most.

If you're on the current Long Term Support Ubuntu 22.04, you can relax. As we said when looking at the beta version, it uses the long-term-support Linux kernel 5.15. Kernel 5.15 doesn't reach its end of life until October 2023 or thereabouts. "Jammy" will be staying on 5.15 for a long time yet, and that includes meta-distributions based on it, such as Linux Mint 21 "Vanessa", and System76's Pop!_OS 22.04.

Linux Mint has stayed on the basis of Ubuntu's LTS versions since Mint 17 in 2014. Just recently, System76 confirmed in a Reddit comment that Pop!_OS will do the same. So if you're a Pop drinker, no 22.10 for you.

The first HWE update for 22.04 hasn't appeared yet, but when it does, it is very likely to get the kernel version that 22.10 is using at that time. We doubt that Canonical would issue an update to a kernel past its end-of-life date, so the HWE alone might mean updating both the short-term release and the HWE stack to kernel 6.0. Without backporting drivers, kernel 6.0 is the first version with native support for Intel's new Arc GPU family, for instance.

We covered how to install the HWE stack for 20.04 back in February, and when one appears for 22.04, the procedure will be much the same.

And for what it's worth, the HWE stack works perfectly on Linux Mint too, if you prefer Mint but need to support newer hardware or want to gain access to fancy new kernel features on its LTS base. ®

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