I have a server running CentOS 6.2 with kernel version 2.6.32, but I need to increase my application Performance.

The Kernel Version 3.4 has x32abi which can improve the performance so i want to upgrade to 3.4 ? Is it possible?

I tried downloading kernel compiling and installing but still I see the same Kernel version..

What went wrong? I followed the process in mentioned in the link below.


  • You might just want to change to a different distro, ie debian, to get the latest kernels. Centos has it's reasons for staying behind the curve. – Danie Dec 7 '12 at 6:50
  • Thanks for the reply Danie you mean to say we can't upgrade the kernal? of please suggest me more Danie i am new i didnt get distro means do you want to suggest different flavour of linux – shiva Dec 7 '12 at 6:52
  • Hi Shiva, you are able to upgrade the kernel as per that link, but it seems that you could've missed some crucial steps. When centos rebooted, did you choose the new 3.x kernel from the boot list? – Danie Dec 7 '12 at 8:45
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    @Danie If you want more recent software versions, Debian too would be a poor choice since they favor stability over newness. – a CVn Dec 7 '12 at 15:38
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    I'm always very scared when I see people that want to improve the performance of an application by upgrading the kernel. Most of the time the problem lies in the application itself. – Yann Sagon Sep 2 '13 at 12:38

This action goes against the purpose of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (and thus, CentOS). These enterprise distributions are meant to maintain stable minor versions of the kernel and core packages (glibc, gcc, etc.) in order to provide a stable platform throughout the supported lifecycle of the distribution.

That means that installing a much newer kernel would turn your system into something other than CentOS.

That said, it can definitely be done. The link you posted is a good guide. You should also upgrade to CentOS 6.3 while you're in the process. (6.4 is on the way)

Following your compilation, you should select the newly-compiled kernel at the CentOS boot screen or change the default booting kernel via the default= line in /etc/grub.conf.


If you really must, you can get newer kernels from ElRepo but once you do this you're on your own so to speak. You will be outside of the normal EL support channels and may not be able to get security and bug fixes etc.

  • if i can use another linux which will be better but i need Default kernal version 3.4 which has x32abi package – shiva Dec 7 '12 at 9:27

When you say "CentOS 6.2 with kernel version 2.6.32" you aren't being entirely accurate:

...there is no one [kernel version] number that accurately represents the RHEL 6 kernel. We take what is upstream; if there are pieces that are not mature, we disable them so they don't disrupt things; and there are some technology pieces that are further ahead that we pull in...

As others have said, changing the kernel goes against the grain of using CentOS/RHEL/OEL etc, but the above also means that by upgrading to 6.3, although you don't change the apparent kernel version you do upgrade the kernel—it's just not possible to do a like-for-like comparison with mainline kernel numbers.


You could go with Oracle Linux, which is pretty much the same as CentOS / RHEL.

Starting with OL 6.5 and up, you can opt-in for Linux Kernel 3: https://docs.oracle.com/cd/E37670_01/E50738/html/ol_upuek2_rn64.html

You can switch between Linux Kernel 2 and 3 kernels with yum commands in OEL.

Oracle calls Linux kernel with Oracle's own patches on top as "unbreakable enterprise linux".

ps. You can freely download Oracle Linux like you can do it with CentOS; support comes separately and only that is paid.

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