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lux, a Linux kernel updater

An ISC-licensed kernel tree updater which takes care of getting a kernel tree, fetching incremental updates to it, configuration, and installation, in a simple process which takes out the grunt work from updating.



Exherbo users, there is an exheres in ::somasis; sys-kernel/lux.

  1. git clone or [download a release] 1.
  2. make
  3. make install


After installation, just run man lux.


On Linux distributions, you often have to choose between a few options for keeping the kernel updated to the latest version:

  • binary packages which just have everything you could possibly need in it
  • source based distributions which provide a huge config for everything
  • manually updating the kernel, which means manually checking for updates
  • ?

Being a user of Exherbo Linux, which is source-based, I must maintain my own kernel, because they do not provide a kernel package:

  1. Check
  2. Decide if I want to use -stable, -longterm, or whatever
  3. Download the latest version in tarball format if I'm lazy, or update it with patches if I hate myself and love to suffer
  4. make silentoldconfig
  5. Install it, reboot

I got to thinking. Why not just automate all this? And so, I looked for ways to do this. A tool called ketchup does what I want, but it looks unmaintained now, and the latest revision is 3 years old. It's rather broken, and doesn't actually seem to know there's any kernel version above version 3.3.

So, I've taken it upon myself to make this, which will automate the procedure.

How does it work?

As you probably know, the kernel developers are very smart people, and this guy called Linus Torvalds made a wonderful version control system named git. A lot of people use it. It works very well, and the kernel developers use it for holding the branches and trees of kernel development.

In addition to that, they publish releases of the kernel using a git construct called tags. Tags mark releases, and releases of the kernel are tagged with their version number.

Since we have advanced towards not using tarballs for darn-near everything, and have left the dark ages, why not take advantage of git's very smart methods of data transfer and versioning, and apply them to how we update the kernel?

As such, lux uses git commands to keep the kernel tree up-to-date. It works using the kernel remote repositories (by default, and checking what you have in your kernel tree against that, and then resetting any modifications on your end, and pulling in new changes from the kernel tree.

Who is this meant for?

Users of the Linux kernel who have to compile it. lux is not for kernel developers, or people who often modify kernel code for their system. It is only for users that compile it, and configure it.

lux resets every last change you make to the kernel's source tree, and if you are a developer, you'll probably be really angry about that.

Do not use lux if you are not prepared for it to reset the tree contents.

(kernel configurations, however, are backed up and used for upgrading)