So I wanted to start playing around with Docker and LXC containers and all kinds of other fun stuff on one of my cheap Kimsufi dedicated servers. I immediately ran into a problem though, Kimsufi (and parent company OVH, and probably sister company SoYouStart) use a modified Ubuntu Kernel. Why do they do this?

In short: optimization, speed, compatibility, control, etc. You can read a bit more about it here if you care to:

That’s fine for 90% of what most people do, not so much for virtualization and quasi-virtualization type stuff like Docker and LXC containers.

I ran into a problem on the first step when I went to install the kernel extras package. It looked something like this:

blah@blah:~# apt-get install linux-image-extra-`uname -r`
Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree
Reading state information... Done
E: Unable to locate package linux-image-extra-3.14.32-xxxx-grs-ipv6-64
E: Couldn't find any package by regex 'linux-image-extra-3.14.32-xxxx-grs-ipv6-64'

Because we are running a custom kernel, we can’t get (or at least I wouldn’t go down the road of trying…) a compatible linux-image-extra package (or it is something included with the generic kernel and not with the OVH custom kernel, I am not very clear on this point).

So I started searching and came across some guides on reverting to a standard kernel…

First, I ran “uname -r” to get my current kernel:

blah@blah:~# uname -r

That is showing the custom kernel. After the kernel swap was all said and done I ended up with:

blah@blah:~# uname -r

Which is a vanilla, stock, ubuntu kernel.

How I got there was by following this guide (I had to translate from french, thanks google…):

To summarize, here were the commands/steps:

sudo su
apt-get install linux-image-server
mkdir ~/ovh.d
mv /etc/grub.d/06_OVHkernel ~/ovh.d/

This worked great for me, however, a few words of caution… You should make sure you have any important files backed up off-system before you start this as you could easily end up with a system that isn’t easy to boot or work on, especially remotely. After you run the command to move the existing OVHkernel file, you should ls in the /etc/grub.d directory to make sure it is gone and you should also ls in the ~/ovh.d directory to make sure it was moved to the right place. Be sure to run “update-grub” before rebooting.

I was surprised at how easy it was to make the switch. Thus far, no adverse affects although I am sure my server is no longer as lean as it could be.


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5 comments on: Switch to Standard Ubuntu Kernel on OVH or Kimsufi Servers

  1. Chris

    cheers, wasted a lot of time before I found your post.

    • nbeam

      LOL – thank you… I also wasted a lot of time before I found the referenced posts in my article 🙂 – I just got a new beefier server from SoYouStart (another daughter company of OVH, like KimSufi) and plan on diving into open-source virtualization next so figuring out how to switch to a stock kernel was helpful.

  2. Sam Howell

    Oh my gosh, thanks for that. Took me ages to figure out how and then I found this article!

    • nbeam

      LOL – No kidding – took me a lot of digging. Glad this was helpful.

  3. Sam Howell

    Hey quick question, how would I go about restoring the OVH kernel?
    I would imangine I would move the folder in ~/ovh.d back to /etc/grub.d/ but what do I do after that? remove all the files from /etc/grub.d/?

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