[SOLVED] General question about kernels (when and why?)

I think I know about the technical aspects of HOW to change kernels (example https://wiki.manjaro.org/index.php/Manjaro_Kernels) but I’m still a little unsure about the WHEN and WHY to change kernels.

My install of 2014.9.1 on my oldish (AMD Athlon 64 X2 Dual Core) desktop is using 3.14 kernel (see screen shot) which say it is LTS, but 3.16 is “recommended” and 3.19 is the newest.
I’ve tried to find info about this topic and I’m finding both “upgrade to get most out of your hardware” and “don’t upgrade unless you have problems” - but how does your typical user (i.e. me) know when and why should a newer kernel be used? Thoughts or a good reference I could be pointed to?

Thanks - Cheers

I usually recommend sticking with the latest available LTS kernel. However, for some newer hardware a newer kernel may be required, and equally true on some older hardware the older kernels work better, for these reasons Manjaro has more than one kernel available.

Just keep in mind that LTS kernels get more security and bug fixes since they are supported longer.

I hope this helped.

Also in point of why newer kernels is the reason I came from SolydXK that was a few version behind. And needed latest kernel as it supported my Huion Graphics tablet. Which the older versions did not. So comes down to hardware needs. Many times it is to support newer hardware.

Also needed latest versions of Gimp and Krita that also support my Hurion tablet. Otherwise would been happy to stick with Debian less bleeding edge but less prone to breakage following the latest.

I agree not to upgrade for the sake of upgrade unless something comes out as a fix for an issue or gives better stability and performance.


I was using 3.16, but ran into some printing problems with Chromium. I upgraded to 3.18 and it fixed those problem. So, upgrading to solve software/system problem would be a good time. Keep in mind that you can always go back to a previous kernel.

I tend to stay a step back from bleeding edge. I want those security upgrades, but I don’t want to be testing them.

That is exactly why I usually recommend sticking with only the LTS (Long Term Support) kernels.

That is exactly why I usually recommend sticking with only the LTS (Long Term Support) kernels.
One should only use the non-LTS kernels if the hardware requires it, you know if it isn’t broke. :slight_smile:

Thank you for all the feedback - I understand. I’ll stick with LTS and maybe look through change log of the newer kernels - maybe I would “play” IF it looks like there might be some benefit to me.

What I don’t agree with then, …or rather, would recommend to change…is the way (manjaro) labels the kernels in the setting manager. The nomenclature (LTS and Recommended) aren’t very ‘end-user friendly’. i.e. why recommend a kernel that is not supported long term? … LTS should also be spelled-out.

Thanks again!