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An Updated Linux Kernel for the Raspberry Pi (PiTFT users – read this one!)

tl;dr: If you’re using our build of the Linux kernel on a Raspberry Pi, we have a new version you can help test. You might already be running it, if you’ve updated your Pi since we uploaded it to apt.adafruit.com. If not, read here for instructions.


Within the last couple of weeks, we started seeing some bug reports from folks using our PiTFT-oriented kernel packages and Raspbian images. It turned out that the Pi Foundation had just released a new version of their kernel, updating to version 4.1, which was officially released back in June. This broke a few things.

This can get confusing. The way it works is that:

  • All the way upstream, the Linux kernel is developed by the kernel developers, coordinated through the Linux Kernel Mailing List.
  • The Raspberry Pi Foundation puts together a version of the kernel that will work on the Pi, and distributes Raspbian packages containing it from their own servers. (Along with some firmware that is closed-source and Pi-specific.)
  • (Raspbian is an independent-ish project to tailor Debian for use on the Pi, but the Pi Foundation distributes their own version, which seems to be what runs on most Raspberry Pis.)
  • At Adafruit, we package and distribute a version of the Pi Foundation’s kernel for Raspbian with some tweaks for supporting PiTFT devices.

Well – it’s more complicated than that, but you get the general idea.  It took a few days, but we have our changes applied to the rpi-4.1.y branch and will be rolling out updated guides and easy-install images shortly.


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