How to Install Linux Kernel 6.4 on Linux Mint 21/20 - LinuxCapable (2023)

Following this guide will demonstrate how to install Linux Kernel 6.4 on Linux Mint 21 or the older stable maintained release Linux Mint 20, utilizing the Ubuntu Mainline kernel installer for the latest kernel version. This release has been eagerly anticipated in the Linux community, as it boasts a plethora of enhancements, new features, and expanded hardware support. Let’s highlight the key differentiators that set Linux Kernel 6.4 apart and understand why upgrading your kernel can be advantageous for Linux Mint users.

Hardware Enablement and Support:

  • Support for new chipsets from Intel and AMD.
  • Inclusion of drivers for Lenovo Yoga series laptops, including support for ‘tablet mode’ switch.
  • Enhanced support for Apple Silicon, including keyboard backlights on MacBooks with M1 and M2 chips.
  • Support for Steam Deck’s AMD “Van Gogh” APU through AMDGPU kernel driver.
  • Addition of drivers for Realtek Wi-Fi devices and support for Turtle Beach Xbox controllers.
  • Mainline support for older Genius graphics tablets.

Filesystem and Performance Improvements:

  • Updates and optimizations for in-kernel NTFS3, EXT4, and BTRFS file systems.
  • Inclusion of Rust code in the kernel, signifying progress toward usable Rust drivers.
  • Cleanup of x86 memory copy code by Linus Torvalds.
  • Removal of SLOB memory allocator and SELinux runtime disable feature.
  • Process-level samepage merging control and a new module_memory mechanism.
  • Performance boost in VDUSE contributed by Bytedance engineers.

These improvements underscore the tireless efforts of a global community of developers, exhibiting expertise, innovation, and commitment to the Linux ecosystem. This is particularly vital for Linux Mint users who will benefit from enhanced performance and broadened hardware support.

Now, why would a Linux Mint user want to upgrade to Linux Kernel 6.4?

  1. Increased Hardware Compatibility: If you’re using the latest hardware, upgrading ensures that your system will be compatible and optimized for performance. This is particularly beneficial for users with newer CPUs, GPUs, or specialized hardware.
  2. Enhanced Security: Security is paramount in any operating system. The Linux Kernel 6.4 brings several security enhancements and fixes, making it crucial for users who need to ensure that their systems are not exposed to known vulnerabilities.
  3. Improved System Performance: The various optimizations in memory handling, file system performance, and code execution provide a noticeable improvement in system performance, which can be crucial for resource-intensive tasks.
  4. Up-to-Date Features: Staying updated with the latest kernel means having access to new features, drivers, and improvements which can translate into a better user experience.

Taking into account the myriad of enhancements and features that Linux Kernel 6.4 offers, it is clear that upgrading the kernel on your Linux Mint system is a judicious choice. This is an important step for any user who wants to ensure optimal performance, security, and feature set for their system.

Armed with this knowledge, you’re now ready to proceed with the technical steps to install Linux Kernel 6.4 on Linux Mint. Through this installation guide, each step will be explained in detail, enabling you to make an informed decision and carry out the installation process safely and effectively.

Table of Contents

Section 1: Install Ubuntu Mainline Kernel Installer

One of the best methods for installing the latest Linux Kernel on Ubuntu-based distributions, such as Linux Mint, is by using the Ubuntu Mainline Kernel Installer repository from Launchpad PPA ppa:cappelikan/ppa. This method allows you to quickly download the latest Linux Kernel source and install it on your Linux Mint machine using either the command-line interface (CLI) or a graphical user interface (GUI). Additionally, this tool enables you to install any Linux Kernel version.

Step 1: Update Linux Mint

Before installing Linux Kernel 6.4, ensuring your system is up-to-date is crucial. This process involves updating all packages on your system to prevent potential conflicts during installation or upgrading.

sudo apt update

Run the specified command to initiate the upgrade process if updates are available:

sudo apt upgrade

If a large number of packages have been updated, including the Linux Kernel, it can be beneficial to reboot your system before installing a new Linux kernel such as 6.4:


Step 2: Import Ubuntu Mainline Kernel Installer PPA

Run the following command to import the Ubuntu Mainline PPA:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:cappelikan/ppa -y

Step 3: Update Packages Index

After importing the PPA, it is recommended to update the package list on your system by executing the following command:

sudo apt update

To install the Ubuntu Mainline Kernel Installer on your system, execute the following command in the terminal to initiate the installation process:

sudo apt install mainline -y

Section 2: Install Linux Kernel 6.4 with GUI (Desktop)

This section will focus on installing Linux Kernel 6.4 on Linux Mint by employing the Mainline Kernel tool through a graphical user interface. This tool offers an intuitive way to manage and install different Linux kernel versions.

Step 1: Launch the Mainline Kernel Tool

To begin with, open your terminal and execute the command below to open the Mainline Kernel tool:


For those using the desktop environment, you can also open the tool by navigating through the following path:

Taskbar > Administration > Ubuntu Mainline Kernel Installer

Example launching Ubuntu Kernel Mainline on Linux Mint:

Step 2: Synchronize Cache to Retrieve Latest Kernels

Once the Mainline Kernel tool is up and running, you will encounter a list showcasing various kernel versions. To ascertain that you have access to the most current kernels, you must synchronize the cache. Click the Sync button situated in the application window’s toolbar. This action refreshes the cache, making the newest kernel versions, including Linux Kernel 6.4, visible.

Step 3: Choosing Linux Kernel 6.4

Post synchronization, scan through the list to locate Linux Kernel 6.4. Click on it to make your selection. Upon choosing Linux Kernel 6.4, the Install button will be activated.

Step 4: Commence the Installation of Linux Kernel 6.4

Now, click the Install button. You will witness a progress bar that keeps track of the installation. Once the installation culminates, a message confirming the successful installation will materialize.

Step 5: Reboot to Apply Changes

It is crucial to reboot your system post-installation of Linux Kernel 6.4 to effectuate the alterations and initialize the utilization of the new kernel version. To reboot your system via terminal, input the command:

sudo reboot

Alternatively, you can reboot using the graphical interface by charting this course:

Taskbar > Power Off / Log Out > Restart

Verifying the Installation

To corroborate the successful installation of Linux Kernel 6.4, execute the following command:

mainline --list-installed

You can also verify by launching the Mainline Kernel tool, where Linux Kernel 6.4 should now be listed as installed.

Section 3: Install Linux Kernel 6.4 Using Command Line Interface (CLI) on Linux Mint

This section will explore how to install Linux Kernel 6.4 using the Mainline tool’s Command Line Interface (CLI) on Linux Mint. The CLI has the advantage of performing various operations such as downloading, installing, viewing, and managing kernels.

Step 1: Listing Available Kernel Versions

Initiate by assessing the kernel versions that are accessible for installation. Execute the command below to obtain a list:

mainline --list

Step 2: Checking Currently Installed Kernels

To ascertain which kernels are already installed on your Linux Mint system, issue the following command:

mainline --list-installed

Step 3: Downloading a Specific Kernel Version (Optional)

If you need to download a particular kernel version without immediately installing it, employ this command:

mainline --download <version>

Here, <version> should be replaced with the kernel version you wish to download, such as 6.4.

Note: If you use the install command, it automatically downloads the kernel. This step is optional and is more relevant for instances where you need to download multiple versions or have bandwidth constraints.

Step 4: Installing the Downloaded Kernel

To install the kernel version you’ve downloaded, execute:

mainline --install <version>

For Linux Kernel 6.4, use the command:

mainline --install 6.4

In case of a minor version, replace x with the minor version number:

mainline --install 6.4.x

Step 5: Rebooting Your System

After installing the kernel, it’s imperative to reboot the system so that the new kernel is effectively loaded. The system will prompt you for a reboot. Run:

sudo reboot

Step 6: Verifying the Installed Kernel Version

Post-reboot, it’s prudent to validate that Linux Kernel 6.4 was installed successfully. Run:

mainline --list-installed

Step 7: Configuring the Boot Order of Installed Kernels (Optional)

If you have multiple kernels and you need to set a default one for booting, issue:

mainline --set-default <version>

Remember to replace <version> with the kernel version you wish to set as default.

Step 8: Uninstalling a Kernel (Optional)

If you require to uninstall a specific kernel, make use of:

mainline --uninstall <version>

Step 9: Cleaning Up Old Kernel Versions to Free Disk Space (Optional)

To eradicate old kernel versions and liberate disk space, this command comes in handy:

mainline --remove-old

This will preserve the two latest kernels and remove the others along with their headers.

Step 10: Obtaining Help with Mainline Tool’s Command Line Interface (Optional)

For a detailed list of commands and options for the Mainline tool, execute the following command:

mainline --help

This will display a list of available command line options and their descriptions.

Section 4: Activating Release Candidate Linux Kernels (Optional)

This section elucidates the steps to enable release candidate (RC) Linux kernels, which are essentially versions nearing final release but are still undergoing testing. While release candidates are beneficial for gaining insights into new features and enhancements, they may contain bugs. Though not suitable for production environments due to their experimental status, release candidates are instrumental for developers and testers who aim to contribute to Linux kernel development.

Step 1: Activating Release Candidates through Graphical User Interface (GUI)

For individuals utilizing Linux Mint with a graphical user interface (GUI) and prefer an interactive visual method, enabling release candidates can be achieved through the settings tab.

  • Launch the settings tab
  • Navigate for an option titled “Hide unstable and RC releases”
  • Deselect the checkbox adjacent to this option

By performing this action, you essentially instruct the system to display release candidates. It is vital to comprehend that this option is generally enabled by default to avert accidental use of potentially unstable versions.

Step 2: Activating Release Candidates through Terminal (For Terminal-Based Environments)

For users who operate in a terminal-based environment or have a preference for terminal usage, this step offers guidance.

Execute the command:

mainline --list --include-unstable

This command directs the system to refresh the kernel cache and incorporate release candidates in the listing. It’s worth observing that the list is presented in descending order, with the latest release or release candidate appearing at the top.

Understanding the Command Components

To understand the command’s functionality:

  • mainline refers to the utility employed for managing Linux Mint kernels
  • --list is an option indicating the requirement to exhibit a list of accessible kernels
  • --include-unstable is an option guiding the utility to incorporate release candidates in the list


Throughout this guide, we’ve explored the substantial improvements and features that Linux Kernel 6.4 brings to the table. We’ve delved into how the upgrade significantly enhances hardware compatibility, bolsters security, optimizes system performance and introduces cutting-edge features. Upgrading to Linux Kernel 6.4 is a prudent decision for Linux Mint users, especially for those utilizing recent hardware or requiring optimal system performance.

As a final recommendation, it’s essential to ensure that you follow the installation steps carefully and always back up your data before making significant system changes. Upgrading to Linux Kernel 6.4 on Linux Mint is not only about staying up-to-date; it’s about harnessing your system’s full potential through an enhanced kernel.

Additional Useful Links

Here’s a collection of additional resources that you might find helpful:

  • Mainline Kernel Installer on GitHub: This GitHub repository contains a mainline kernel installer that can be used for installing the latest kernels on Ubuntu-based distributions, including Linux Mint.
  • Ubuntu Kernel PPA: This is a repository for mainline kernel builds maintained by the Ubuntu Kernel Team. It’s an excellent resource for getting the latest kernels.
  • Cappelikan’s PPA: This Personal Package Archive (PPA) contains various packages that can be useful for Linux Mint users.
  • Linux Kernel Release Categories: A resource from the official Linux Kernel Archives that categorizes the releases, providing clarity on the different versions and their statuses.
  • Official Linux Kernel Archives: This is the primary site for the Linux kernel source, with extensive information on different kernel versions, including 6.4. It’s an essential resource for anyone looking to delve deeper into Linux kernels.
  • Ubuntu Mainline Kernel: This official Ubuntu wiki page details the mainline builds of the Linux Kernel, which can be used to install or upgrade the kernel on Ubuntu-based distributions, including Linux Mint.
  • Linux Kernel Mailing List Archive: This is where the kernel development community communicates. It’s a great place to keep an eye on if you want to stay informed about the latest kernel developments and discussions.


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