APT Repository for Linux-libre

I've been maintaining this APT repository for the kernel called Linux-libre since September 2011, graciously hosted by the Free Software Foundation Latin America.

Linux as distributed by kernel.org contains proprietary software, and it induces you to install additional proprietary software that it doesn't contain.

Linux-libre is a modified version of Linux with all of the binary blobs, obfuscated code and portions of code under proprietary licenses removed.

The resulting combination of the GNU Operating System and the kernel named Linux is the GNU/Linux operating system, although many (incorrectly) refer to it as "Linux."

This repository contains .debs of Linux-libre compiled for IBM Power CPUs (POWER8 and above), 64-bit ARM, 32-bit ARMv7 with hardware FPU, and 32- and 64-bit x86 CPUs. It should work with most any GNU/Linux distribution that uses APT. It's known to be compatible with Trisquel, gNewSense, Debian, Ubuntu, Devuan and their respective derivatives. Please contact me if you need support for additional CPU architectures or other GNU/Linux distributions.

I hope that this repository will make software freedom easier for more people, either by allowing you to replace the kernel in your existing GNU/Linux distribution with one that is entirely freedom-respecting, or for people already using fully-free GNU/Linux distributions to more easily get a newer kernel version if you need it for some reason.

To use this repository first check for a compatible architecture:

dpkg --print-architecture

You should see one of the following:


Only if you see i386, determine if your i386 CPU supports PAE (which is good to know for the chart below) run this command. If your architecture is not listed as i386 then skip this step:

grep --color=always -i PAE /proc/cpuinfo

If pae is highlighted in the output then your system supports PAE. Otherwise it does not.

If you have a compatible architecture add this repository to your system. Run this command:

sudo apt edit-sources

Add the line:

deb mirror://linux-libre.fsfla.org/pub/linux-libre/freesh/mirrors.txt freesh main

Your package manager will select an appropriate mirror. You can also access the mirror.txt file and instead put the the address of a specific mirror in place of mirror:// but please use the automatic method shown above if possible.

Another option is to instead access the repository using a TOR hidden service. To do that you will need to first install the package apt-transport-https and then add the following to your sources.list instead:

deb tor+http://lxpizzamm6twgep2.onion/linux-libre/freesh/ freesh main

Either way, once your sources.list is updated you should also fetch and install the GPG key with which the repository is signed:

wget https://jxself.org/gpg.asc

Check that it's the right key:

gpg --with-fingerprint gpg.asc

Make sure that you see:

Key fingerprint = F611 A908 FFA1 65C6 9958 4ED4 9D0D B31B 545A 3198

As long as it matches configure the package manager to trust the key and then delete the temporary copy:

sudo apt-key add gpg.asc
rm gpg.asc

Now you will now be able to update your package manager and install Linux-libre:

sudo apt update

The exact command to run next depends on how you want things to work. Please review all of the information that follows on this page.

Short-term, long-term, or extended-term support?

  • Short-term support (STS) versions provides all of the latest changes and features but are only supported for about 2-3 months so you're upgrading to new a new stable version more often.
  • Long-term support (LTS) versions are suported for 2 years but won't necessarily have the latest stuff. If you want to use Linux-libre and prefer a kernel that isn't changing as much, the long-term versions are probably what you want.
  • Extended-term support (ETS) versions are supported for 6 years. They are a good choice for someone that wants the reliability and dependability of an LTS version for an extended period.
  • STS and LTS versions are available without cost. ETS versions have a cost associated with them, but don't worry: I'm going with a "pay what you think is fair" option (although the minimum is $24/year.) ETS versions are maintained in a separate repository. Please contact me to arrange access.

Current and upcoming kernel versions to know about:

Version Status Released Supported Until
4.19 Future version, expected in October 2018.
4.18 Latest released version. August 2018 October 2018
4.14 Current long-term support (LTS) version. November 2017 January 2020
4.9 Previous long-term support (LTS) version, but still supported. December 2016 January 2019
4.4 Extended-term support (ETS) version. January 2016 February 2022

Please keep in mind that a new long-term support version is selected roughly once each year. The next one will selected in the latter part of 2018.

Please continue reading to find the use case that most closely describes what you want.

Use Case Command
I want to use an Extended-Term Support (ETS) kernel. These live in a separate repository. Please contact me to arrange access.
"I always want the latest version of Linux-libre. No matter what." sudo apt install linux-libre
Same as above, but I have an older computer that doesn't support PAE. (See the earlier note about PAE.) sudo apt install linux-libre-nonpae
"I want the latest version of Linux-libre, but when 4.19 comes out as the next major new release I want to wait a bit before upgrading so that any problems can get sorted out. I'll decide when I'm ready to upgrade to 4.19, but I still want to get updates for 4.18 while I'm waiting." sudo apt install linux-libre-4.18
Same as above, but I have an older computer that doesn't support PAE. (See the earlier note about PAE.) sudo apt install linux-libre-4.18-nonpae
"I always want to be using the current long-term support (LTS) version of Linux-libre. No matter what." sudo apt install linux-libre-lts
Same as above, but I have an older computer that doesn't support PAE. (See the earlier note about PAE.) sudo apt install linux-libre-lts-nonpae
"I want to use the current long-term support (LTS) version of Linux-libre but when the next one comes out I don't want to upgrade to it. I want to stay with the current LTS (4.14) until I decide otherwise." sudo apt install linux-libre-4.14
Same as above, but I have an older computer that doesn't support PAE. (See the earlier note about PAE.) sudo apt install linux-libre-4.14-nonpae
"I know that 4.14 is the current long-term support (LTS) version but I want to continue using the previous LTS version (4.9) until I decide otherwise." sudo apt install linux-libre-4.9
Same as above, but I have an older computer that doesn't support PAE. (See the earlier note about PAE.) sudo apt install linux-libre-4.9-nonpae

If you use libreboot make sure to do this. If you do not use libreboot, skip this step.

cd /boot/grub
sudo ln -s grub.cfg libreboot_grub.cfg

I also recommend that you subscribe to the linux-libre-announce mailing list to be aware of important changes. The mailing list is very low volume.

Have questions? Need help? Please visit #linux-libre on irc.freenode.net or contact me.

Linux-libre is free software, licensed under the terms of the GNU General Public License version 2, as published by the Free Software Foundation. You should read the license so that you know your rights to run, study, and modify the software, as well as your obligations should you redistribute the software to others.

To ensure that I'm in full compliance with the license you may download the tarball containing the complete and corresponding source code, kernel configuration files, and the instructions to compile and install the kernel from http://linux-libre.fsfla.org/pub/linux-libre/freesh/.

Copyright © 2011 - 2018 Jason Self. See license.shtml for license conditions. Please copy and share.