Testando patches

Occassionally, when attempting to resolve a kernel issue (particularly one that’s specific to your hardware) you may be asked to apply a patch to verify that the issue is fixed before the patch is included.

This is a brief guide on how to get ahold of the Fedora kernel source for your version of Fedora, apply the patch, and build a kernel to test. This guide is aimed at users not familiar with the Fedora kernel development process, and requires only minimal understanding of the associated tooling.

Getting Setup

First if not already installed, you’re going to install fedpkg (Fedora’s RPM packaging utility):

sudo dnf install fedpkg

Next, you’re going to get ahold of the source (this will create a new subdirectory "kernel" and place all necessary files there):

fedpkg clone --anonymous kernel

Then, enter the created directory "kernel":

cd kernel

After entering the kernel directory, you need to switch to the branch for your current version of Fedora using the following command where "<fedora version>" is your version of Fedora:

fedpkg switch-branch f<fedora version>

For instance, if you’re running Fedora 34, you’d run:

fedpkg switch-branch f34

Finally, you need to add yourself to the "mock" group using the following command where "<username>" is your Fedora username:

usermod -a -G mock <username>

For this change to take effect you can either logout and log back in, or you can run the following command:

newgrp -

Applying The Patch

To apply the patch, take the .patch file you’ve been requested to apply, and save it in the "kerenl" directory the previous step created as:

linux-kernel-test.patch

Building The Packages

To build the kernel packages, first make sure you’re in the "kernel" directory.

This next step may take a while so be sure to wait until you’ve got some time where you can let your computer work.

Then, run the following command:

fedpkg mockbuild

Finally, go enjoy a hot beverage, take a walk, play with your dog, or otherwise relax and come back later.

Installing The Packages

To install the packages, first make sure you’re in the "kernel" directory. From there you’re going to enter the "results_kernel" directory:

cd results_kernel

This directory will contain a single subdirectory that’s the kernel version number. Use the ls command to find its name, for example:

ls
5.13.9

Enter this directory:

cd 5.13.9

Repeat this process once more:

ls
200.fc34
cd 200.fc34

Finally, if you run ls one more time, you’ll see a number of ".rpm" files. As an example:

ls -1
build.log
hw_info.log
installed_pkgs.log
kernel-5.13.9-200.fc34.x86_64.src.rpm
kernel-5.13.9-200.fc34.x86_64.rpm
kernel-core-5.13.9-200.fc34.x86_64.rpm
kernel-debug-5.13.9-200.fc34.x86_64.rpm
kernel-debug-core-5.13.9-200.fc34.x86_64.rpm
kernel-debug-debuginfo-5.13.9-200.fc34.x86_64.rpm
kernel-debug-devel-5.13.9-200.fc34.x86_64.rpm
kernel-debuginfo-5.13.9-200.fc34.x86_64.rpm
kernel-debuginfo-common-x86_64-5.13.9-200.fc34.x86_64.rpm
kernel-debug-modules-5.13.9-200.fc34.x86_64.rpm
kernel-debug-modules-extra-5.13.9-200.fc34.x86_64.rpm
kernel-debug-modules-internal-5.13.9-200.fc34.x86_64.rpm
kernel-devel-5.13.9-200.fc34.x86_64.rpm
kernel-modules-5.13.9-200.fc34.x86_64.rpm
kernel-modules-extra-5.13.9-200.fc34.x86_64.rpm
kernel-modules-internal-5.13.9-200.fc34.x86_64.rpm
root.log
state.log

Remove all .src.rpm files with the following command:

rm *.src.rpm

The list now should now look something like this:

ls -1
build.log
hw_info.log
installed_pkgs.log
kernel-5.13.9-200.fc34.x86_64.rpm
kernel-core-5.13.9-200.fc34.x86_64.rpm
kernel-debug-5.13.9-200.fc34.x86_64.rpm
kernel-debug-core-5.13.9-200.fc34.x86_64.rpm
kernel-debug-debuginfo-5.13.9-200.fc34.x86_64.rpm
kernel-debug-devel-5.13.9-200.fc34.x86_64.rpm
kernel-debuginfo-5.13.9-200.fc34.x86_64.rpm
kernel-debuginfo-common-x86_64-5.13.9-200.fc34.x86_64.rpm
kernel-debug-modules-5.13.9-200.fc34.x86_64.rpm
kernel-debug-modules-extra-5.13.9-200.fc34.x86_64.rpm
kernel-debug-modules-internal-5.13.9-200.fc34.x86_64.rpm
kernel-devel-5.13.9-200.fc34.x86_64.rpm
kernel-modules-5.13.9-200.fc34.x86_64.rpm
kernel-modules-extra-5.13.9-200.fc34.x86_64.rpm
kernel-modules-internal-5.13.9-200.fc34.x86_64.rpm
root.log
state.log

Finally, install all the rpm packages in this directory using dnf:

dnf install ./*.rpm

Testing The Kernel

Once everything is installed succesfully, reboot. The kernel you built should automatically be selected by GRUB when your system starts up. Simply allow your computer to boot, and check to see if your issue has been resolved.

Going Back

If you’ve finished testing, and you’d like to revert to the previous kernel you’ll want to reboot again. This time when GRUB starts, you’ll want to select an older kernel (for example, in this case we built 5.13.9, so we’d select 5.13.8 from the list) using the arrow keys.

Once you’ve booted back, use the following command to undo installing the kernel:

sudo dnf history undo last

You should then be prompted to remove the kernel packages you just installed. If you see other packages, use dnf history to find the transaction to undo. You’re looking for the number at the start of a line that includes the kernel version that was installed:

dnf history --reverse
...
24 | install ./kernel-5.13.9-200.fc34.x86_64.rpm ...
...

This number "24" can then be used to undo via the following command:

sudo dnf history undo 24

Finally if you reboot, the new kernel (e.g., 5.13.9) should no longer appear in GRUB, and your previous kernel should be automatically selected (e.g., 5.13.8).