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HELP: live-usb kernel updater

[This page reproduces the file on the GitHub account of the application’s developer, BitJam, last accessed on December 6, 2017. The user is referred to that page for further information and updates.]

This is a command line program that updates the kernel on a antiX or MX live-usb. It can update a running live-usb or a live-usb that is plugged into a host system.

Quick Start

sudo apt-get update # if needed
sudo apt-get install git # if needed
git clone
git clone
cd live-kernel-updater
sudo ./live-kernel-updater


This program is command line only for now. We try to avoid making your live-usb unbootable so you need to install a new kernel and then do a remaster before we will attempt to update the live kernel. We do this by always looking for new kernels inside of the linuxfs file so we know for sure it will be available when you next boot.

It can update a running live system or a live-usb that you plug into any system. You will be prompted with choices if you don’t specify what you want to do with command line options.

The log file is at /var/log/live-kernel-updater.log.

It will automatically create a config file for itself at /root/.config/live-kernel-updater/live-kernel-updater.conf.


Usage: live-kernel-updater [options] [command]

Update the kernel on a running antiX/MX live-usb or on an antiX/MX live-usb
that is plugged into another system. The new kernel must already be installed.
You will be prompted for information that is needed but was not given in the
command line arguments.

all All commands below
unpack Unpack the old initrd
copy Copy kernel modules into initrd
repack Repack the new initrd
install Copy new initrd and vmlinuz to the live boot directory

-a –auto Non-interactive. Always assume the safe answer
-C –color= Set color scheme to off|low|low1|bw|dark|high
-d –device= live-usb device to update the kernel on
(use “live” to force updating a running live system)
-F –force=XXXX Force the options specfied:
flock: ignore missing flock program
usb: Allow non-usb devices (dangerous!)
clear: remove previous initrd directory
-h –help Show this usage
-i –initrd Only update the initrd using the file:
If that file is not found, use:
–initrd= Only update the initrd using file
leading / then treated as full path to alternate initrd
-I –ignore-config Ignore the configuration file
-k –kernel= The version (uname -r) of the new kernel
-K –keep-old Keep the old module directory in the initrd
–pause Wait for user input before existing
-m –modules= Only add listed modules to the existing initrd
-p –pretend Don’t actually install the new kernel or initrd.gz
-q –quiet Print less
-R –reset-config Write fresh config file with default options
-v –verbose Print more, show commands when run
-W –write-config Write/update config file preserving current options


  • short options stack. Example: -pq instead of –pretend –quiet
  • options can be intermingled with commands and parameters
  • config file: /root/.config/live-kernel-updater/live-kernel-updater.conf
  • the config file will be sourced if it exists
  • it will be created if it doesn’t exist

Development history: BitJam

(antiX) License: here.

v. 20171206

1 thought on “HELP: live-usb kernel updater”

  1. I’m running a live USB session, but when I run the kernel updater, I get the following:

    Please select the system to update
    = sdb 7.5G SanDisk Cruzer
    Press to select the highlighted entry
    Use ‘h’ for help, ‘r’ to redraw, ‘q’ to quit
    Error: One or more partitions on device /dev/sdb are in use at:
    Paused at ‘Exit’
    Press to continue

    This occurs whether I run it from MX Tools or CLI using the Quickstart list of commands.


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