Upgrading kernel to 5+

When building a kernel of a different version to the one in the current image (4.9.140) the nano will not boot.

is there a guide to building a kernel for the nano? as i need a newer kernel for better hardware support.
what is preventing other kernels booting? as the nano wont go past the nvidia splash screen, so i dont even get a log.

Hi ryands59h,

Please refer to https://docs.nvidia.com/jetson/l4t/index.html#page/Tegra%2520Linux%2520Driver%2520Package%2520Development%2520Guide%2Fkernel_custom.html%23

When building a kernel of a different version to the one in the current image (4.9.140) the nano will not boot.

You have to be careful whether the external modules are loaded too. It is easier that you miss them when using customized kernel image. You could check whether your result from “lsmod” is null or not.

Also, we cannot guarantee the functionality of kernel 5+. There are many nv specific drivers which are still not merged to upstream.

Is there an eta on when the nano will get an official image with a new kernel ?

If your new kernel means “kernel- 5.x”, then there is no eta. We will still stick to kenrel-4.x for a while.

if NVIDIA is sticking with a linux 4.9 kernel “for a while” maybe they could look at upgrading to
a more recent 4.9 release. The current 4.9 releases is 4.9.214.

There have been so many CVE bug fixes applied to more recent kernels.

It gives the impression that NVIDIA does not care about security at all.
The Jetson products having network interfaces exposing the hardware to all manner of network security issues. It would be wise to take advantage of those that have been fixed.

Moving from linux-4.9.140 to a more modern linux-4.9.214+ is surely justified.


Kernel 5.3 and up should boot fine on the nano however you will be limited to open source drivers only and the current support is pretty flakey.

Open source development on the nano seems to have slowed to a crawl over the past 6 months or so…it was going strog at first it seemed… Not really sure what happened.

You can follow this guide as a reference and apply it to whichever kernel release you wish… I suggest you use the current linux master branch though.


thanks currently have it booted into a new kernel https://linux-hardware.org/?probe=1b215dd48c
only major issue i am seeing right now is for some reason my usb ports are not getting any power
power comes back when reverting to older kernel so trying to find the cause of this.


fixed this by adding extra firmware to kernel config

Three years with no kernel updates?
Most awful software support I ever seen.

1 Like

Any updates for upgrading the kernel?

Will there be an L4T with kernel 5.x this year, could anyone please confirm or deny that. Knowing that, we can then plan to cherry-pick quite a few patches that we need for specific AppArmor features for the 4.9 tree. This of course means a maintenance burden for us, however knowing the answer sooner will enable us to plan better.

AFAIK, we will still use k4.9 for this year.
Please follow up with https://developer.nvidia.com/embedded/develop/roadmap

@kayccc I see no mention of a newer kernel version on that roadmap. v4.9 has already cost us thousands of dollars in time trying to get it to work with newer drivers. Nvidia needs to take this seriously and get us a modern kernel, especially given the amount of money we’re going to shell out for the nanos. We will also be investing heavily in xavier nx’s. I have a really hard time spending a lot of money on something with an ancient kernel, then spending money to get drivers to work, and then spending money maintaining the drivers, which are all available upstream in 5.4+. Get with the program.

@jake It might be also worth monitoring upstream kernel patches and simply trying them out (u-boot for nano as well). I’ve noticed 5.9 kernel on kernel.org has a lot of new commits for tegra platform (haven’t tried it myself yet).

In general, I’d expect once 5.9+ upstream kernel in general works (you’d probably have no GPU support) then a 5.9+ kernel / upstream support is imminent.

@skrilax well, no gpu support renders the device an over priced aarch64 device.

We will still use k4.9 for coming release. the upgrades are planned for 2H2021CY.

@skrilax I tried to use this guide and repo with Armbian image https://elinux.org/Jetson/Nano/Upstream . USB ports don’t work and I think that nouveau DRM won’t to start :/ I have display working on llvmpipe

Is this kernel 4.9 version the reason why I seem to be having issues with the latest WiFi 6 cards like the Intel AX200NGW? If so, Linux Kernel version problems like this, as well as any security concerns involved, will make this Jetson hardware very unappealing to me if kernel update support from Nvidia runs at this kind of cadence :(

1 Like

thumb down, the ancient kernel was not updated for 2 years. just a waste of our time.

1 Like