3 Alternative Linux Kernels

When talking about Linux, most people just think of the regular kernel. It is the one that ships with most mainline Linux distros. There are other kernel’s though. I specifically am going to go over the LTS, Linux-Libre, and Zen kernel. What they do, and how they differ from the regular Linux kernel.

The LTS Kernel

If you are the person who values stability over everything else this is the kernel for you. The LTS kernal, is much like the regular kernel except for the fact that it gets less frequent updates. It does not have the newest of features, but I still gets the same updates. You can also use the same version of the kernel for longer. Every version of the kernel will get 6 years of support, mainly because of Android. I personally would recommend using the LTS kernel on any Linux distro that you are using as a server.

The Linux-Libre Kernel

If you are like me, the initial reason that you switched to Linux was the privacy and security enhancements. If that is the case, I would recommend that you check out the Linux-Libre kernel. It was made by the GNU Project to enhance user freedom and security. The regular Linux kernel ships with binary blobs that provide nonfree firmware, however they are not freely editable by the user. The Linux-Libre kernel is better for privacy, as you can make sure that the only code in your machine is 100% trustworthy. The only problem is that some hardware might not work, especially not WiFi cards.

The Zen Kernel

Going into the world of Linux gaming you will often hear about the Zen kernel. It is a Kernel that is optimized for gaming and performance. It changes the default I/0 to BFQ, it changes TCP congestion to BBR, and it is tuned to increase the preemption frequency. All of this leads to better FPS. You will not see a big difference if you have a supper beefy computer, but you will see a lot of improvements on lower end hardware.


Whether you want Longer support, optimizations, or better hardware support, there are many kernels that will fill any niche that you need. These 3 kernels are can suit any of your needs if you would like something that is more specified than the regular Linux kernel.

If you would like to check out these 3 kernels for yourself, you can check out the links below.

Here is the Linux LTS Kernel, The Libre-Linux Kernel, and the Zen Kernel

Written on September 16, 2021