Livepatch: Linux kernel updates without rebooting

Livepatch is a feature to do live kernel patching for Linux systems. It allows applying security updates without rebooting the system. Learn how it works!


If you run a Linux server, software patching is a task that will have to be performed on a regular basis. Although most programs can be auto-restarted with a tool like needrestart, there is one exception: the kernel. Wouldn’t it be a nice if we could update the kernel without the mandatory reboot? Here is livepatch, the feature of the Linux kernel that makes it possible. Let’s discover how it works and if you can use it on your system.

How to check if your Arch Linux system needs a reboot

Want to check if a reboot of the system is needed on Arch Linux? Here is how that can be done including the relevant commands.


By default Arch will install the kernel in /boot with the name vmlinuz-linux. To determine if the system is running the latest kernel, we can compare the running kernel and the one on disk. Running kernel One way to determine the running kernel is with the uname command. By default installed and with the -r parameter it will provide the kernel release version. # uname -r 3.17.4-1-ARCH Kernel on disk Checking the latest kernel on disk is almost as easy.

Check for a required reboot on Debian and Ubuntu systems

Debian based systems, like Ubuntu, need sometimes a reboot as well. We have a look on determining if a required reboot is needed and due to what packages.


Administrators of Debian-based systems know they have to reboot their systems, just like any other Linux distribution. However, why is the reboot needed? Could we monitor for which systems need an actual reboot? Required restart required? This Ubuntu system needs a restart Required reboot Software can contain issues, which we call bugs. Most bugs are just annoying if you encounter them and can be fixed by upgrading to a newer version of the software.