CUDA and Linux Kernel

I am running CUDA on a Lenovo Linux workstation. The system is asking me to download updated files, which are an updated kernel and support programs. My question: if I install these programs, will that affect the running of CUDA? I know that the CUDA installation was specific for the kernel that was on the system at the time, and I am concerned that if I upgrade the kernel CUDA will stop working.

Yes, it may affect the running CUDA.

The GPU driver has kernel modules that are compiled against your specific kernel. If you update the kernel, this may break.

If you have the DKMS system installed, then update to the kernel may trigger DKMS to recompile your kernel interfaces automatically on reboot after the kernel update, but it’s not possible for me to tell if this is the case from your question. Most typical runfile installations do not involve DKMS (although it is possible to engage DKMS in this case), whereas DKMS is more likely to be set up (but not guaranteed) if you used a package manager installation.

If you’re unsure, you could:

  1. Uninstall the GPU driver
  2. Perform whatever updates you wish
  3. Reinstall the GPU driver

The CUDA linux install guide gives instructions that cover these various scenarios.