I've started installing Debian testing on amd64 and I've come to a screen asking me to install a kernel. It gives me a choice between linux-image-3.16-2-amd64, linux-image-amd64, and none.

What is the difference between these options? Which do I choose?

1 Answer 1


linux-image-amd64 is a generic metapackage, which depends on the specific default kernel package. In your particular case, linux-image-amd64 probably depends on linux-image-3.16-2-amd64. In general it suffices to install the generic metapackage. You could alternatively install the specific linux-image-3.16-2-amd64 package, but in general it is better style to install the generic metapackage.

One specific advantage of installing the generic metapackage (and keeping it installed) is that it makes sure you always stay current on system upgrades. Otherwise, supposing you are upgrading from one Debian release to the next, or even from Debian stable to Debian testing, your kernel version will not automatically be upgraded, aside from minor Debian-specific upgrades for security reasons. However, if you have the generic metapackage installed, the latest kernel will be pulled in as a dependency.

Note however, that the kernel that was already installed, as a dependency of linux-image-amd64 or otherwise, will not be removed. So you will need to periodically prune the list of obsolete kernel packages, including header packages.


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