How to Install Linux Kernel 5.16 on Ubuntu or Linux Mint

Install Linux Kernel 5.16

Linux kernel 5.16 is now available so here’s a tutorial on how to install it on your Ubuntu or Linux Mint distributions, or a similar derivative.

Linux kernel 5.16 is a great release for Linux gamers and AMD users. It brings the long-anticipated FUTEX2 implementation from Collabora for a faster gaming experience when playing both native Linux games and Windows games via Wine.

Linux kernel 5.16 also brings lots of goodies for AMD users, such as initial DisplayPort 2.0 and USB4 DP tunnelling support for AMD GPUs, as well as many other enhancements like support for Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4 (CM4), support for the Apple Magic Keyboard (2021), support for zoned namespace to the Btrfs file systems, and much more.

And now for the eternal question… why upgrade your Linux kernel? Well, you don’t have to upgrade it if you’re not interested in any of the features mentioned above. In fact, I don’t even recommend installing a mainline kernel over the kernel provided the maintainers of your GNU/Linux distribution.

However, while other distributions like Arch Linux, openSUSE Tumbleweed, or Fedora Linux will receive the Linux 5.16 kernel through the official channels, distros like Ubuntu or Linux Mint won’t receive the latest and greatest kernel, so installing a mainline kernel may improve hardware support and performance.

Fair warning for NVIDIA GPU users! Before installing a newer kernel, please be aware of the fact that Linux kernel 5.16 was just released and it is not yet supported by the proprietary NVIDIA graphics driver. So if you rely on your NVIDIA GPU for gaming or anything else, wait for NVIDIA to add support for Linux 5.16 in its graphics drivers.

How to install Linux kernel 5.16 on Ubuntu and Linux Mint via CLI

This tutorial uses the mainline Ubuntu kernel PPA archive offered by the Ubuntu/Canonical developers. These kernel packages are not signed, which means that they can’t be installed on UEFI/Secure Boot systems if Secure Boot is enabled. Therefore, you will have to first disable Secure Boot to install Linux kernel 5.16.

The installation is fairly easy, download the latest package from the mainline Ubuntu kernel PPA above in a folder on your Home directory. Below you’ll find direct download links for 64-bit systems using the generic kernel flavor, but you can also install Linux kernel 5.16 on ARM64, ARMHf, ppc64el, and s390x systems.



The optional linux-headers packages are needed when you have DKMS modules installed, such as a Wi-Fi driver.

Now, you will need to open a terminal window in the folder where you’ve downloaded the new kernel packages by right-clicking on an empty space on that folder and selecting the “Open in Terminal” context menu option.

In the Terminal, run the command below to install all the downloaded .deb packages. However, please make sure that you don’t have other .deb packages in that folder except for those needed to install Linux kernel 5.16.

sudo dpkg -i *.deb

Running the command above will install the Linux 5.16 kernel on your Ubuntu or Linux Mint distribution, so wait until the installation process is complete and then reboot your computer.

That’s it, you’re now running Linux kernel 5.16. I’ve tested this tutorial on an Ubuntu 21.10 (Impish Indri) installation and everything worked well. To upgrade to future point releases, such as Linux kernel 5.16.1, 5.16.2, etc., you will have to manually check the Ubuntu Mainline Kernel PPA Archive and download the new packages.

If you want to remove Linux kernel 5.16 from your system, simply uninstall the packages you’ve installed by following the instructions from this tutorial with a graphical package manager like Synaptic Package Manager. However, the official Ubuntu kernel will still be present in your system and you’ll be able to choose between the two kernel versions from the boot menu.

How to install Linux kernel 5.16 on Ubuntu and Linux Mint using Mainline

An alternative method of installing the newest Linux kernel in Ubuntu or Linux Mint is by using the Mainline program, which you can install from the cappelikan PPA. Simply run the commands below in the Terminal app to install Mainline, and then run the application to install Linux kernel 5.16.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:cappelikan/ppa
sudo apt update
sudo apt install mainline

Last updated 2 years ago

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