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Last update to this page: 19th May 2017.

Vserver Kernels for Debian Users

Psand's been actively supporting the Linux-Vserver project since 2009 - their kernels have provided us an amazingly stable and efficient method of virtualizing our network infrastructure at our racks in London and the United States.

Ben Green
System Administrator, Psand Limited
"We've been so grateful for the project, but really that's not a strong enough word, it's been the backbone of our infrastructure and essential."

In return, we've been providing this repository and compiling and testing the kernels for the Debian operating system. A lot of the heavy lifting has been done by Ben whilst the rest of us have cheered on from the sidelines. He's also contributed a fair whack of content to the Vserver Wiki over the years and provided builds for the vserver-util packages.

Please check the Linux-Vserver website, IRC Channel or mailing list for more information about the Linux VServer project.

Kernels for debian releases

The vserver kernels are built for various releases of Debian GNU/Linux. The kernels are tested on our development servers and then on our client staging servers. Once they are considered stable, they're deployed into production. The kernels are made available at our public repository (see below).

We've been doing this since 2009, so we've got kernels available for:

  • Debian 5.0 "Lenny"
  • Debian 6.0 "Squeeze"
  • Debian 7.0 "Wheezy"
  • Debian 8.0 "Jessie"

We're working on producing a kernel for Stretch shortly.

An automated script on i386 and amd64 based Vserver guests is used for the build. A cross compilation environment would be better, due to some recent changes in the build script, this might actually happen! If you are interested in helping with this or would like to contribute to the linux vserver project financially to support this development, let us know.

For those interested in compiling their own modules, or who use DKMS, header and source files are also also available. If the header package was added after the kernel, the kernel package needs to be re-installed (apt-get --re-install install) in order for the linking to the headers to take place.

The config for these kernels is based on the the most recent Debian configs, with extra questions answered in a Debian style; compiling all available resources as modules where possible unless there's a good reason not to.

How to use the Debian Repository

First add this line to your /etc/apt/sources.list file:

deb jessie main

Then run this to add the gpg key to apt:

apt-key adv --keyserver --recv-keys C6BF2F85752AC5D7

Proceed as normal, updating your sources thus:

apt-get update

You may also find some stuff in contrib and non-free. To have a look for the kernel packages compiled by Ben one might use:

apt-cache search linux | grep beng

One could replace the “linux” with “linux-image” which will find only kernel images (so ignoring source and header packages).

Automatic Kernel Update with a Metapackage

A set of metapackages has been added to the repository. This package will automatically install the latest build of Linux-Vserver patched kernel. To install it do:

apt-get install linux-image-vserver-3.18-beng

From then on, when you upgrade your system, apt will grab the latest beng build of the vserver kernel. You can do the same for the headers and source packages too using ‘linux-headers-vserver-3.18-beng’ and ‘linux-source-vserver-3.18-beng’.

There are also legacy metapackages for many older series kernels in the squeeze and wheezy parts of the repository. These may be removed at some point, thought currently I have no reason to remove them. I'll endeavour to let people know if there's to be a big repository shake up.

Util-Vserver Packages

Ben's also compiling util-vserver pre-release as they are released. They are simple compiles of the tar balls provided upstream with no modification, unless I discover small fixes. Consult the changelogs and build versions for such info.

apt-get install util-vserver

Should get you a working vserver environment (with an appropriate kernel of course).

Levels of support for the packages

There isn't much, but we do provide security updates for critical kernel issues, as the patches become available from the vserver developers.


We endeavour to keep any other mirrors updated, so let us know if you have a mirror and we'll add it to our list for automatic updates.

Warranty Information

These kernels and other packages are provided with absolutely no warranty.



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