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This is a setting that you would normally not change. It is a state that shows if the kernel was tainted. If the value is higher than zero, than it is tainted.

Relevant FAQ: What is a tainted kernel?


  • 0 - kernel is not tainted
  • >0 - kernel is tainted by one ore more causes

Show current value

The value of the kernel.tainted can be retrieved using the sysctl command.

sysctl kernel.tainted

or using the proc file system:

sysctl /proc/sys/kernel/tainted

Configure new value

To apply a new value, use the option --write, followed by the key and value.

sysctl --write kernel.tainted=NEWVALUE

To ensure that these changes are also applied during the next boot, add them to a configuration file, typically something like /etc/sysctl.d/99-custom.conf.


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This article has been written by our Linux security expert Michael Boelen. With focus on creating high-quality articles and relevant examples, he wants to improve the field of Linux security. No more web full of copy-pasted blog posts.

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