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Update Linux Kernel Without Rebooting Using LivePatch on Ubuntu 16.04

Published on: Mon, Oct 16, 2017 at 11:18 am EST
Linux Guides System Admin Ubuntu

Keeping your Vultr VPS up-to-date is important for security and performance. A core part of this process is ensuring that your system runs with the latest Linux kernel release. However, until now, updating your kernel meant rebooting the server after installing a new kernel.

Fortunately, in late October 2016, Canonical launched a new patching system that potentially revolutionizes the whole process. As a result, Ubuntu 16.04 LTS and upwards now supports the Canonical Livepatch service. This makes it possible for both enterprise and community level users to update the system kernel without the need to reboot afterwards.

Livepatch provides an authenticated and encrypted means to stream kernel modules for Ubuntu servers and desktop systems. It's also free for enterprise users or allows non-enterprise users to use the service on up to 3 systems.

Register

Although free, it is necessary to register with Canonical to create an api token. Follow the instructions on the Livepatch website to get your Livepatch token. Copy your token and follow the steps below.

Installation

The first step is to open a terminal and log into your server as root or a user with sudo capabilities. Update the system for good measure:

sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade

Then we'll need snap, which we can install that with the following command:

sudo apt install snapd

Now to enable Livepatch:

sudo snap install canonical-livepatch
sudo canonical-livepatch enable <your-api-token-here>

Assuming everything worked correctly, you will see output similar to this:

Successfully enabled device. Using machine-token: <your-api-token-here>

Check status

Once installed, the status of the Livepatch daemon can be checked from a terminal with:

canonical-livepatch status --verbose

No more reboots

Your Ubuntu 16.04 LTS server is now enabled to make use of the Livepatch service. As a result, the next time you upgrade to the latest kernel, you won't need to reboot the server.

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